US Senate: Leading Marijuana Prohibitionist Out As Senate Judiciary Chair

One of the US Senate’s leading marijuana prohibitionists, Iowa Republican Charles Grassley (IA), will no longer be heading the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 116th Congress.

Representative Grassley announced today that he is stepping down as Chair of the Committee. As Chair, Grassley refused to hold any hearings or votes on marijuana-related legislation, including bipartisan legislative efforts like the STATES Act. Virtually all Senate legislation specific to marijuana policy must pass through the Judiciary Committee.

Representative Grassley received a D- grade on NORML’s 2018 Congressional Scorecard.

Next in line to Chair the Committee is Republican Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who received a C grade from NORML.

“As the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham will have to make a choice when it comes to marijuana,” NORML’s Political Director Justin Strekal said. “Will he continue to perpetuate the failed policy of federal criminalization which resulted in over 659,000 Americans being handcuffed in 2017 alone, or will he be open to reform in a way that reflects the rapidly evolving nature of cannabis policy in the majority of states?”

Representative Grassley’s decision to step down follows the retirement of House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and the failed re-election bid of House Rules Chair Pete Sessions (R-TX) – both of whom similarly used their powers as Chair to stifle any legislative debate on marijuana policy.