Politicians Discuss Narrow Window for Federal Cannabis Legalization at SXSW Conference
AUSTISN– The SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, known for its focus on cutting-edge tech, music, and film, also hosted a cannabis track of sessions this year, along with a psychedelics track for the first time. During the cannabis track, consultant Andrew DeAngelo challenged his panelists for answers on why federal legalization had not seen any progress. Joining him were Democrat and longtime cannabis legislation advocate Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Republican Rep. Nancy Mace.
Blumenauer said he was more optimistic than he had been eight months ago, but was critical of Senators Booker and Schumer for not being able to bring a vote on measures passed by the House. He believes they have learned their lesson and are more willing to compromise this time around. Mace, however, was less positive, saying that if anything will happen with federal legalization, it would need to be done before June, as after that, it will be about the presidential election.
While Mace doubts that cannabis will be descheduled, she does expect it to be moved down to a schedule III drug. She also suggested that some forces were working against descheduling or rescheduling, and that “Big Pharma” could be working against cannabis – but did not elaborate on that idea.
Several other cannabis panels at SXSW were attended by people from non-legal states or countries hoping to get more information about the industry. Meanwhile, on the psychedelic track, there was a great deal of curiosity among conference attendees about the industry in general. While one session focused on the hype of psychedelics, there were also conversations from athletes to tech leaders.
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