A group of lawmakers thinks it’s high time to end cannabis prohibition. The group is made up of politicians from both sides of the aisle. They want Congress to pass a bill that would end cannabis prohibition at the federal level.
Ending Federal Cannabis Prohibition
The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 in February. The bill would put an end to federal laws that make weed illegal.
This is not the first time the bill has been proposed. In fact, there have been three other versions of it. The bill was brought to Congress in 2011, 2013, and 2015. So far, it has never passed.
The bill would do four main things:
- It would take weed off the list of illegal drugs. Currently, cannabis is a Schedule I drug. That category is for drugs that are considered to be the most dangerous and that have no medical uses. Last year, the DEA refused to move weed off the list.
- The bill would regulate weed the same way alcohol is regulated.
- It would create a system for giving permits to people and companies in the legal cannabis industry.
- The bill would let states decide how to regulate cannabis. This would apply to both medical and recreational weed.
There is strong bipartisan support for the bill. Representative Thomas A. Garrett is the bill’s main sponsor. He is a Republican from Virginia. Along with him, there are 11 other co-sponsors. Seven of them are Democrats. Four of them are Republicans.
Many of them say the bill will reduce harm caused by anti-weed laws. In particular, it will decrease the number of people arrested for non-violent crimes. Garrett recently told sources in that cannabis prohibition ends up “creating criminals out of people who otherwise follow the law.”
Co-sponsor Tulsi Gabbard has similar concerns. “FBI reports have shown that in 2011 alone, an individual in the United States was arrested for marijuana use, sale or possession every 42 seconds,” said the Congresswoman from Hawaii. She also said these arrests were “mostly in poor and minority communities.”
She added: “Our current laws are turning everyday Americans into criminals, sending them to jail, ruining their lives, tearing apart families and wasting huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate people for marijuana use.”
The Final Hit
Sponsors are now trying to raise support for the bill. But the White House could make that hard. In recent months, the Trump administration has become less friendly to cannabis.
Earlier this year White House press secretary Sean Spicer said there could be “greater enforcement” of cannabis prohibition laws.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is also a vocal opponent of cannabis. Earlier this year he spoke out against weed. He said cannabis is “only slightly less awful” than heroin. He also said that medical marijuana “had been hyped, maybe too much.”
And most recently, President Trump hinted that he might go after medical marijuana states. Earlier this month, Trump signed off on a spending bill. Part of the bill said that federal funds could not be used to interfere with state medical cannabis laws. But Trump said he may ignore that rule and go after those states anyway.