One easy way to dispel those fears, and take the weed issue away from Joe Biden and the Democrats, would be to legalize cannabis nationwide. That would be historic, that would be momentous.

And would be something the president could do before Election Day.

President Donald Trump could absolutely legalize marijuana before Election Day, but it would require ... [+] some serious Senate cooperation

Once business in Congress resumes in September, the House of Representatives plans to vote on a wide-ranging bill called the MORE Act, according to a leaked e-mail blast U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina) first reported on by Marijuana Moment on Friday.

One of several marijuana reform measures in Congress, the MORE Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and allow for a lawful nationwide marijuana industry. (Other, more conservative reform focused on allowing cannabis businesses to access banks has already passed the House.)

If Clyburn is right, and the House holds a vote on the MORE Act during the September work period, the bill is likely to be approved, given the Democratic majority and a handful of cannabis-friendly Republicans.

Then, if a similar bill in the Senate is also called for hearings, gets a vote, and gets approved, legalization could end up on the president’s desk fairly quickly. Maybe even before the first presidential debate on Sept. 29!

That’s how it could happen. That’s the theory. So what about practice?

That’s all up to the Senate... and it would also require Trump and the Republicans to give credit to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California), Biden’s vice-presidential nominee.

Harris is the sponsor of the Senate version of the MORE Act. Thus, the president legalizing marijuana in this scenario would also grant some kind of win for a political opponent.

That presents quite the trade-off, and that’s why it’s probably not going to happen—even if it would quantifiably help the president.

Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris Delivers Remarks In Washington DC

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 27: Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA.), ... [+] delivers remarks during a campaign event on August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Harris discussed President Donald Trump's failure to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and protect working families from the economic fallout prior to the last night of the Republican National Convention. (Photo by Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)

Only a handful of states have marijuana reform on their ballots in November, and none of them—New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, Mississippi, and South Dakota—are swing states, meaning marijuana by itself is unlikely to swing the election.

However, many other swing stages have active cannabis industries, with many undecided voters—like Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. These are the states that decide most every election. And according to recent polls, in these states, Biden and Trump are very close—with Trump a few points behind in Florida.

Cannabis reform remains popular with a majority of Americans of all political persuasions, including members of both the Republican and Democratic coalitions who may be feeling left out, like libertarians upset with Trump’s big-government moves, and leftists unhappy with the Democrats’ embrace of centrism.

So weed absolutely could influence the election—and if a hanging chad or three was enough to give the White House to George W. Bush in 2000, cannabis reform absolutely has potential to tip the scales in 2020.

All that said, Trump can do nothing unless the Senate does a lot: call either Harris’s MORE Act or their version of the SAFE Banking Act for a committee hearing, pass it, call it again for a floor vote and pass that, too. That would be a remarkable show of cooperative bipartisanship that would be popular with a majority of Americans, who would in turn be encouraged to see their government function.

And so that’s why legalization during Trump’s first term almost certainly will not happen.

The consensus on the Hill is that the Senate is unlikely to bother calling either the MORE Act or its less-ambitious marijuana-reform counterpart, the SAFE Banking Act, for even a committee hearing. But even if the Senate does as expected, and does nothing, the House’s impending consideration and possible approval of the MORE Act is still significant.

“Democrats have a really important opportunity to pass a comprehensive bill that addresses marijuana reform at a time when millions of people are taking to the streets to challenge the status quo,” said Queen Adesuyi, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, one of the advocacy groups backing the MORE Act.

As for the Senate, well, they “have trouble even hearing marijuana issues, so we have a lot of work to do,” Adesuyi said. “But right now there’s an opportunity in the House to make history.”