The movement to end the prohibition of cannabis is a decades-long project. At times, it can be difficult to gauge how successful the movement has been, especially since marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. But according to some lawmakers, big changes could be much closer than they might appear. In fact, Rep. Earl Blumenauer predicts marijuana will be descheduled in the next four years.
Rep. Blumenauer’s Prediction
Blumenauer made his prediction as part of a talk he gave over the weekend in Portland, Oregon. The occasion was the Cultivation Classic, an event focused on advancing the world of cannabis cultivation.
Along with the primary cultivation contest, in which awards were given away to top growers, the event included panels, speakers, and presentations. Rep. Blumenauer spoke on Saturday, May 12.
During his remarks, he expressed optimism about changing cannabis laws. In particular, he focused on the possibility of descheduling weed.
Descheduling would mean moving cannabis off the DEA’s list of Schedule I prohibited substances. That list includes drugs like heroin and meth.
Critics of cannabis prohibition have long taken issue with marijuana’s inclusion on this list. The primary argument is that cannabis is nowhere near as dangerous as the other drugs on that list.
For many, descheduling cannabis is a crucial step. Although it would not make cannabis legal, it would significantly reduce the seriousness of weed-related crimes.
More broadly, it could also pave the way to legalization. According to the Willamette Week, Rep. Blumenauer said that descheduling weed could happen relatively quickly.
“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,” Blumenauer said. “If we do our job, it’s game over in two years.”
A Pragmatic Approach Toward Legalization
Rep. Blumenauer is one of the nation’s most outspoken lawmakers in favor of legalization. Among numerous other actions, he teamed up with Rep. Jared Polis to write “The Path Forward: Rethinking Federal Marijuana Policy.”
The document highlights many of the pressing problems with current federal prohibition laws. It also outlines options for decreasing the penalties for weed. And most importantly, it provides suggestions and recommendations for how to make cannabis legal at the federal level.
Rep. Blumenauer used last weekend’s speech to highlight a couple key points for moving toward federal legalization.
“If Democrats control the House of Representatives, in the first months of the next Congress in 2019 we will be having hearings on descheduling,” he said.
He praised bipartisan advancements on the question of legalization. In particular, he was encouraged by conservatives like John Boehner, who are becoming more open to the idea.
Furthermore, Blumenauer articulated a pragmatic approach to legalization.
“I don’t second guess people’s motives if they’re willing to evolve,” he said. “Whether it’s 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 it’s a commercial opportunity.”