Legalizing pot requires GOP support

Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) thinks Congress never should have banned marijuana, because it had no constitutional authority to do so. He nevertheless voted against the MORE Act, objecting to the “new marijuana crimes” its tax and regulatory provisions would create, with each violation punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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Schumer’s bill seems even less likely to lure Republicans. The preliminary version, which runs 163 pages, would levy a 25 percent federal excise tax on top of state and local taxes, impose picayune federal regulations, and create the sort of “social equity” programs that gave pause even to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R–Fla.), the MORE Act’s lone Republican co-sponsor.

Last year, 106 House Republicans voted to protect financial institutions that serve state-licensed marijuana businesses from federal prosecution, forfeiture, and regulatory penalties. That bill would already be law if Schumer had not blocked it in the Senate, insisting that his own legislation take priority. Instead of building on Republican support for marijuana federalism, Democrats seem determined to alienate potential allies.

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