Newly Introduced Legislation Would End Federal Pot Prohibition

Photo by Nico Escondido

In Trump’s (and Jeff Sessions’) new America, rational marijuana policy isn’t something we thought we would see. And while we still may not see it, members of the House and Senate are doing what they can to change that.

On Thursday, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden and Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis introduced a bill that would remove the DEA’s power over marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act. This means that the right to create and enforce laws around marijuana would be turned over to state governments.

Today, more than one fifth of the country lives in states that allow recreational marijuana, and recent polls have found that 59 percent of the country favors legalization.

“If we are truly going to move our nation towards sensible marijuana policies, the removal of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act is paramount,” said Justin Strekal, political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “Annually, 600,000 Americans are arrested for nothing more than the possession of small amounts of marijuana and now is the time for Congress to once and for all end put an end to the national embarrassment that is cannabis prohibition.”

“Passing this legislation would end the current conflict between state and federal laws and allow the states to implement more sensible and humane marijuana policies, free from the threat of federal incursion,” he added.

The bills are pieces of a three-part legislation package proposed by Wyden and Blumenauer, both representing Oregon, called the Path to Marijuana Reform.

According to VICE, “one deals specifically with tax issues related to the marijuana industry; another includes a variety of far-reaching reforms, such as easing restrictions on banking and medical research; and the third calls for descheduling marijuana, which would treat the drug like alcohol or tobacco under federal law.”

That being said, it’s difficult to know what kind of progress the bills will make in the Republican-majority Congress, particularly when the White House and the attorney general have come out against states’ rights to legalize the leaf.

Only time will tell if the bills can make it through, but in the meantime, call your congressmen and women to let them know that you support the Path to Marijuana Reform.

The Path to Marijuana Reform can be read in its entirety here.

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