Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has made a name for himself as a tough, focused, political powerhouse. He has wrangled presidents along with the Senate and House. He has a vision and focused on it no matter who is in the way – political opponents, the president, and even the general public. He is a legend and Mitch McConnell has been a roadblock for marijuana.
McConnell has even embraced his Darth Vader meme and is ok with being a hatchet man. But this week, he startled everyone at the Senate Republicans’ weekly press conference. McConnell abruptly stopped speaking, and was eventually escorted away only to return later to answer questions. In March he fell and sustained a concussion, and some Senators have quietly expressed seen changing in the Minority Leader.
One thing is clear, McConnell is not swayed by public opinion and is definitely not a fan of cannabis or the industry. He has remained stubborn and pushed for his values no matter what the issue and has been friend and foe to seven presidents. Since taking office as a US Senator, McConnell has gathered a fortune estimated at $34 million.
Advocates and executives are up in arms after opposition from the then Senate GOP Leader resulted in Congress failing to pass SAFE Banking, key cannabis banking bill, dealing a massive blow to the industry.
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Mitch McConnell, the senior senator from Kentucky and the Senate Minority Leader, has had a mixed history with marijuana reform. McConnell has been a advocate for the legalization of industrial hemp, a form of cannabis that can be made into a wide variety of products. He pushed to get a provision legalizing hemp into the 2018 Farm Bill, which essentially legalized hemp by removing it from the definition of marijuana under federal drug laws. This, of course, meet jobs for his home state.
Despite his support for hemp, McConnell has been a vocal opponent of medical marijuana. However, his home state of Kentucky recently became the 38th state to legalize medical marijuana, suggesting that his views may be evolving or he didn’t think it was worth the political capital to stop the bill.
He has been a consistent opponent of recreational marijuana, and has panned proposals to add marijuana provisions to defense bills. He has blocked SAFE Banking and it is said marijuana reform will not pass as long as he is a Senate leader.
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While McConnell’s public statements suggest that he is opposed to marijuana reform, he has also been known to engage with the industry in a more lighthearted way. For example, he was photographed frolicking in a field of cannabis in 2020.