During Friday’s debate, House Republicans expressed concern that the bill would expose more children to cannabis and ignore mental health problems in adult users. Arizona Republican Representative Andy Biggs mocked a Democratic colleague, Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen, for confusing today’s potent strains with those of his youth.
“He thinks weed is a drug where people go crazy and eat Cheetos,” Mr. Biggs said of Mr. Cohen.
But they generally ignored the issue, which is widely popular in both parties, and accused Democrats of not addressing more pressing issues.
“The left won’t let Democrats do what needs to be done about the inflation problem, the energy problem, the illegal immigration problem on the southern border,” said Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “So what are they doing? They legalize drugs. Wow.”
That opposition belies the issue’s popularity with Democratic and Republican voters. Some deeply Republican states like Oklahoma have become marijuana boom states. Kansas is the last state on the cusp of legalizing cannabis for medical use.
Federal law is way out of line.
“This is an issue of individual liberty and fundamental justice that clearly transcends party lines,” Mr Schumer, Mr Wyden and Mr Booker wrote in a letter to fellow senators in February. “However, a major hurdle continues to impede the ability of states to make their own decisions about cannabis – the continued ban on marijuana at the federal level.”
Ms. Mace said the Democrats she had negotiated with would have to approve their version of a legalization bill before seriously discussing a bipartisan bill, with Senate support. She has used the issue to differentiate herself from her Republican primary opponent, Katie Arrington, who has backed President Donald J. Trump.
“I hope I can be forgiven for voting against,” Ms Mace said Friday, before casting her vote against the Democrats’ bill. “Because I want to move on. I want to work on this problem, but we have to work on it together.”