Marijuana legalization proponents were understandably thrilled by the outcome of this past November’s election. With Democrats fully in control of Washington, dreams of federal decriminalization filled the heads of many. And though it hasn’t happened yet, it looks likely that legalization is in the cards for the future.

One question that remains to be answered is how the federal government will go about it. Some believe marijuana will be moved from Schedule I to Schedule II. Others think Congress will shoot for full decriminalization, removing marijuana from the controlled substances list altogether.

Both strategies have their advantages and disadvantages. But at this point, what is most important is the fact that Congress is probably going to put a bill on the president’s desk before next year’s midterms, and perhaps before the end of 2021. Here are the top three reasons for doing so:

1. It’s Worth Political Points

Marijuana legalization has been a political topic for decades. However, it didn’t gain much traction until the national wave of medical marijuana took hold a few years ago. Now it is almost unavoidable. Poll after poll shows that Americans are largely in favor of marijuana legalization. Smart lawmakers want to capitalize on that. Legalizing marijuana can score political points – and lawmakers know it.

The issue could be especially important in 2022 when you consider the fact that the party of the sitting president usually takes a hit in Congress during midterms. Right now, the Democrats hold a very slim majority in the House. The Senate is split evenly with Vice President Harris casting any tie-breaking votes. Assuming the Democrats could lose 5 to 10 House seats in 2022, any political points they can score now will be important then.

2. Legal Marijuana Can Be Taxed

In politics, the only consideration more important than scoring points is the power to tax. The power to tax is ultimately the power to control. And make no mistake about it, taxing marijuana would create a windfall for Washington lawmakers. Marijuana taxation would provide tens of millions of dollars that members of Congress could use to solidify their political positions.

You could walk into Deseret Wellness, a marijuana dispensary in Utah to purchase medical cannabis products. Washington would get no tax revenue from your purchase. That doesn’t sit well with federal lawmakers.

Truth be told, Congress already knows marijuana’s taxation potential. Any member who questions it need only look at alcohol taxes. Millions of people using marijuana recreationally could potentially generate as much revenue as their alcohol-consuming counterparts.

3. They Want Federal Control

The third reason for legalizing marijuana is giving Washington total control. Right now, they do not have that control. It resides with the states inasmuch as the states have implemented their own cannabis laws in violation of federal regulations. Washington refuses to enforce federal law, giving states a pass to control marijuana as they see fit.

Looking at post-prohibition alcohol regulations tells you everything you need to know about federal marijuana legalization. The end of prohibition introduced a litany of regulations that gives Washington near total control over alcohol production and distribution. Do not think for a minute that lawmakers don’t want the same level of control over marijuana.

They do want it, and they are willing to legalize marijuana to get it. Expect to see Senate Democrats pressing their Republican counterparts to go along with marijuana legalization in the coming months. A successful summer campaign could mean legislation going up for a vote this fall. The chances are good that marijuana will either be rescheduled or completely decriminalized before the year is out.