As described in final week’s post, 2018 proved to be an exceptionally thrilling year for the cannabis sector: 5 states authorized legalization initiatives, Canada ended its almost century-extended prohibition, and legalization was a important problem in a quantity of gubernatorial races. Additionally, Congress helped cap off a robust year by legalizing hemp, and consequently hemp-derived solutions, via the 2018 Farm Bill. And notwithstanding the existing gridlock in Washington, it seems that final year’s pro-cannabis momentum has carried more than into 2019.
On January 9, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced H.R. 420, also known as the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.” Quite a few readers will try to remember Blumenauer from the eponymous Rohrabacher–Blumenauer amendment, the appropriations provision that prohibits the Justice Division from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state healthcare cannabis laws. (Final fall, he also circulated a legalization agenda for a 2019 Democratic Home.) Blumenauer’s proposed legislation delivers for a comprehensive overhaul of the federal government’s remedy of marijuana. Amongst other items, the bill:
- Decriminalizes marijuana by removing it from all schedules of the Controlled Substances Act
- Amends the Federal Alcohol Administration Act to empower the Secretary of the Treasury to problem permits to these wishing to manufacture, distribute, or sell marijuana
- Prohibits widespread marketing of marijuana
- Grants to the Meals and Drug Administration the exact same authority with respect to marijuana as the FDA has with respect to alcohol and
- Transfers jurisdiction from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Explaining his introduction of the bill, Blumenauer noted: “Our federal marijuana laws are outdated, out of touch, and have negatively impacted numerous lives. Congress can not continue to be out of touch with a movement that a developing majority of Americans assistance. It is time to finish this senseless prohibition.” And he’s right in that assessment. According to a Pew Analysis Center study released final fall, almost two-thirds of Americans assistance legalization at the federal level. As of this week, the bill has been referred to various committees for consideration.
To aid shepherd the bill via Congress, Rep. Blumenauer also announced the new co-chairs of the 2019 bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Conference. Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Dave Joyce (R-OH) join Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Don Young (R-AK) to aid shape the marijuana reform agenda in the new Home. “The Cannabis Caucus was the initially of its sort to generate a forum for elected officials to collaborate on approaches to address our outdated federal marijuana laws,” Blumenauer mentioned in a public statement. “Congress is clearly out of step with the American folks on cannabis when national assistance for federal marijuana legalization is at an all-time higher and we saw various states move toward legalization final November.” In the preceding Congress, the Caucus worked on a quantity of difficulties connected to cannabis investigation, guaranteeing patient access to medicinal marijuana and tax reform. Hopefully, H.R. 420 is just the starting of the Caucus’ bold plans for 116th Congress.