Congress to Discuss Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition?

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Although it remains uncertain whether the Trump Administration will shut down the cannabis industry when it takes over the United States later this month, nothing is stopping one ambitious lawmaker from pushing Congress to legalize the leaf nationwide.

U.S. Representative Jared Polis of Colorado, a man who has led the battle to end prohibition in the U.S. for the past several years, poured his heart out in a recent op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, calling for congressional leadership to finally cut the prohibitionary shenanigans and make way for an opportunity to legalize marijuana across the entire nation.

In the piece, Polis said he plans to introduce a bill that would allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol.

“Every Congress since 2013, I have introduced legislation that removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and leaves the decision to legalize up to the states, where it belongs,” Polis wrote. “I plan to reintroduce the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act in the next Congress.”

Considering that the language of the measure has not been tweaked, the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act” would remove cannabis from the confines of the Controlled Substances Act and allow the in-and-out’s of the cannabis industry to be overseen by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The measure would also put the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in charge of cannabis products in the same way it presently handles alcohol.

Sadly, even if the bill manages to go the distance, it would not necessarily mean that marijuana would be legal in every jurisdiction. The proposal would still give states the right to refuse legalization.

Nevertheless, Polis wants the federal government to respect the latest scientific evidence with respect to the cannabis plant and the more than 60 percent of the American population who believes weed should be made legal in a manner similar to beer.

“It is past time for Congress to acknowledge that there has been a resounding shift in the way Americans think about marijuana, and science supports this shift,” Polis wrote.

Although Polis’s article did not indicate when the bill would be submitted, we anticipate it will happen within the first two months of 2017.

Unfortunately, the bill, which was last introduced in February 2016, has taken it on the chin from congressional leadership in year past. So far, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act has not even managed to secure a hearing.

But supposing this year is different, and the bill finds success in both chambers of Congress, it is still a long shot as to whether president-elect would support full legalization. As of now, the entire cannabis industry is still waiting to see if Trump’s selection for U.S. attorney general will even allow legal marijuana states to continue operations.

Still, Polis hopes the situation will work out for the best.

“While it’s discouraging to see that the president-elect has picked an attorney general who is hostile to marijuana reforms, it is the president who sets the policies,” Polis wrote. “We must hold Trump accountable to what he has said in the past about marijuana legalization.”

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.

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