“People kept saying that with Sessions no longer attorney general, a major obstacle was removed from the cannabis movement’s progress,” Wallin told POLITICO Magazine. “I had to remind them that Jeff Sessions was not really the major problem. He had been all bluster and no action.” Instead, Wallin was focused on the departure of another Sessions — the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee.
Republicans had taken such heavy losses on election night, it would have been easy to overlook Texas Congressman Pete Sessions’ defeat to Colin Allred, a former professional football player and Obama administration Housing and Urban Development attorney, but Wallin understood that it had been Rep. Sessions, not Attorney General Sessions, who had almost singlehandedly blocked marijuana reform in Congress by denying votes on marijuana-related amendments. With Pete Sessions gone, and Democrats in charge, the backlog of small changes that marijuana advocates have been clamoring for since 2016 — clarification of banking rules, permission for veterans to talk to their VA doctors about medicinal marijuana, protections against federal interference for state-legal programs (medical and recreational) — is due to appear in upcoming appropriations bills. Two hundred and ninety-six members of the House (68 percent) represent districts in the 33 states with at least medical marijuana, which means the votes are there to pass these amendments. In the words of Rep. Earl Blumenauer, the Oregon Democrat who is the dean of the Cannabis Caucus, “Cannabis reform is inevitable.”
Reform didn’t seem inevitable two years ago.