U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) believes the end of the battle to legalize marijuana across the United States is fewer than four years away.
"I made a bet that within five years, every state will be able to treat cannabis like alcohol and there will be universal access to medical marijuana," he told a crowd of cannabis business owners at Cultivation Classic in Revolution Hall Saturday afternoon. "If we do our job, it's game over in 2 years."
Blumenauer, a longtime champion of legal weed, said the 2018 elections could be pivotal to removing cannabis from the federal list of Schedule 1 narcotics, like heroin and methamphetamine.
"If Democrats control the House of Representatives in the first months of the next Congress in 2019," said Blumenauer, "we will be having hearings on de-scheduling."
The Oregon congressman says he's happy to see some of his colleagues coming around in favor of legalization, like Republican and longtime cannabis-opponent John Boehner, who is now investing in the industry.
Blumenauer says he offered Boehner a pair of "cannabis-themed" socks to welcome him to the club.
"I don't second-guess people's motives if they're wiling to evolve," Blumenauer says, "whether its for political expediency, whether it's that they've seen the light, whether they're fed up with the racial injustice seen in drug laws or if its a commercial opportunity."
With growing support across the states on both sides of the political aisle, Blumenauer says he sees cannabis being de-regulated very soon.
"It will be a sea change and it is within our grasp," he says.