National Marijuana Legalization May Become a Special Interests Buffet

by | Mar 24, 2021


Special interests already elbowed their way into including government subsidies for businesses and racial preference requirements in national marijuana legalization legislation in the form of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (the MORE Act) approved in the United States House of Representatives in December, toward the end of the last congress. Now, with legalization momentum so strong that a national law change appears to be around the corner, expect more and more special interests to rush in to advance their goals in the crafting of the bill that will end decades of national prohibition.

This month, the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation announced its launch. The organization, with large companies and business associations as members, is making an effort to shape how marijuana is legalized. The list keeps growing of those working hard to tinker with legalization here and there to benefit their causes and their pocketbooks.

People living in states that already have legalization may even endure a significant step back in respect for their freedom under a special interests buffet of marijuana legalization that, while legalizing marijuana at the national level, imposes new US government controls related to marijuana. Liberty proponents may soon be reminiscing about the good old days in the Barack Obama and Donald Trump administrations when the US government ignored many activities that violated US law but were undertaken in compliance with state laws. A busybody legalizer can be a greater threat than an inactive prohibitor.

Drafting a national legalization bill just requires listing the parts of US law that enable marijuana prohibition and declaring them repealed. It can also eliminate penalties and clear records of people punished for violations of the repealed prohibition. That approach, however, leaves no room for control, graft, and plunder — highly valued prizes of modern Washington, DC politics.

Hopefully, at the end of the process, people who just want the government to leave them alone will gain significant advantage from national marijuana legalization despite being outlobbied. But, don’t count on it.


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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