Representative Earl Blumenauer has introduced legislation in the House -- The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2019 -- (HR 420) to deschedule cannabis, thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit. Further, marijuana would be removed from the enforcement power from the US Drug Enforcement Administration in matters concerning marijuana possession, production, and sales, to a newly renamed Alcohol, Marijuana, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to ensure compliance with state laws and prevent illegal trafficking of the substance.
Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for qualified patients, while ten states now regulate the production and sale of marijuana to all adults. An estimated 73 million Americans now reside in jurisdictions where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. Voters support these policy changes. Sixty-eight percent of registered voters “support the legalization of marijuana,” according to national polling datacompiled by the Center for American Progress. The percentage is the highest level of support for legalization ever reported in a nationwide, scientific poll.
These statewide regulatory schemes are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safety, crime rates, traffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated economic development and tax revenue. Specifically, a 2017 report estimates that over 149,000 Americans are now working full-time in the cannabis industry. Tax revenues from states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now exceed initial projections. Further, numerous studies have identified an association between cannabis access and lower rates of opioid use, abuse, hospitalizations, and mortality.
The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant's medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color.
By contrast, regulating the adult use of marijuana stimulates economic growth, saves lives, and has the support of the majority of Americans.
Enter your information to the right to send a message to your members of Congress to support this effort.
Join the Caucus: Tell your Congressional Representative to join the recently formed federal Cannabis Caucus
With public support for reforming marijuana laws at an all time high, key Congressional allies have formed the first-ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.
Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation's nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition. The continued criminalization of adult marijuana use is out-of-step with the views of adults throughout America, 93% of whom support medical marijuana (Quinnipiac, 2017) and 64 percent of whom endorse the outright legalization of recreational cannabis (Gallup, 2017).
The official establishment of this Caucus represents our growing, bipartisan support in Congress.
In all, ten states that have enacted laws regulating cannabis for adult use, thirty-three states have enacted comprehensive medical cannabis laws, and 14 additional states have enacted more limited medical cannabis laws. In total, 47 US states have adopted laws rolling back cannabis prohibition at the state level, representing 95% of the U.S. House of Representatives and 94% of the Senate.
Enter your information to the right to urge your member of Congress to join the Cannabis Caucus.
Bipartisanship: The STATES Act To End Federal Enforcement In States That Legalized Medical or Adult-Use
Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) have introduced bipartisan legislation, The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018, to remove the threat of federal intervention and prosecution in states that regulate marijuana use and sales. A bipartisan House companion bill has been introduced by Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).
This marks the first bicameral, bipartisan legislation to end the federal enforcement of prohibition in states that have reformed their marijuana laws.
Specifically, this legislation:
- Creates an exemption to the Controlled Substances Act for US states and territories that have reformed their laws with regard to marijuana policy, effectively restraining undue federal intervention
- Maintains federal legislative provisions (aka “guardrails”) to deter:
- The interstate trafficking of marijuana into prohibition states from legal states
- The prevention of those under 18 from working in the cannabis industry
- The prevention of those under 21 from purchasing marijuana (unless recommended by a state-qualified physician to treat a medical condition)
- Unsafe production conditions
- Provides greater flexibility for lawmakers in non-legal states to reform their laws in a manner that reflects the will of the of their constituents and regulates cannabis commerce
- Provides the ability for cannabis businesses to obtain basic banking services
- Removes industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act
Urge Your Lawmakers to Acknowledge The Role of Cannabis in Combating the Prescription Drug Overdose Epidemic
Opioid-involved overdose deaths have increased five-fold since 1999 and were involved in over 40,000 deaths in 2016. Deaths involving benzodiazepines, a family of anti-anxiety drugs, have increased eight-fold during this same time.
Best evidence informs us that medical marijuana access is associated with reduced levels of opioid-related abuse, hospitalization and mortality.
In 2018, the esteemed Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine published a pair of persuasive new studies reinforcing this opinion.
In the first study, investigators from the University of Kentucky and Emory University assessed the relationship between medical and adult-use marijuana laws and opioid prescribing patterns among Medicaid enrollees nationwide. Researchers reported that the enactment of both medicalization and adult-use laws were both associated with reductions in opioid prescribing rates, with broader legalization policies associated with the greatest rates of decline.
In the second study, University of Georgia researchers evaluated the association between the enactment of medical cannabis access laws and opioid prescribing trends among those eligible for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Researchers reported that medicalization, and specifically the establishment of brick-and-mortar cannabis dispensing facilities, correlated with significantly reduced opioid prescription drug use.
Essentially, the Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act would give peace of mind to lawmakers, regulators, 149,000 workers, and the millions of patients and consumers who are dependent on the normalization of lawful marijuana markets. The most essential component in creating a stable business environment to meet consumer demand is certainty and that is what states would have with Reps. Correa’s legislation to protect state-lawful programs from potential enforcement actions by US Attorneys or other agents of the Department of Justice.
Enter your information to send a message to your Representative in support of the Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act.
Additional Federal Efforts
Deschedule Marijuana: The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017
AG Jeff Sessions: Tell Congress to Reject Jeff Session's Reversal of the Cole Memo
Medical: Remove Federal Restrictions on CBD