Will cannabis soon be legal in the U.S. on a federal level? If this new legislation catches any wind, this could be a possibility. On Thursday, three U.S. lawmakers introduced bills that would completely end federal cannabis prohibition. While the Trump administration has recently made some derogatory comments about cannabis, at least three legislators are hoping to take positive action. Here’s the scoop on the legislation that could finally end the war on cannabis.
New legislation would end cannabis prohibition
The legislation was introduced by senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Jared Polis (D-CO). It would officially remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which criminalizes the possession, cultivation, and sale of the herb.
There are three separate bills included in this legislation. According to VICE, one addresses the debilitating taxes placed on cannabis businesses.
The second groups together various reforms including policy that would ease banking restrictions and allow medical research.
The final bill is the piece that would reschedule cannabis, allowing the herb to be treated like alcohol and tobacco, two legal substances which are more harmful than cannabis.
After removing cannabis from the CSA, how to handle the herb would remain up to the decision of the states. Removing cannabis from the CSA is a major step to halting the arrests of thousands of cannabis consumers around the nation.
Giving the cannabis question to the states would also potentially allow researchers to study the herb for future medicines and public safety concerns.
In total, the proposed policy addresses the following areas:
- State protections
- Criminal records
- Drug testing and other civil protections
- Medical cannabis
The three-part legislation is entitled The Path to Marijuana Reform. This path to reform, however, isn’t the only thing Oregon lawmakers have been working on.
Recently, Blumenauer and three additional representatives from various states launched the congressional cannabis caucus, which hopes to bring about active cannabis reform in the near future.
Will this legislation pass?
Just introduced, this legislation has a way to go before it makes a serious impact. Recently, officials from the Trump administration have been vocally against cannabis, claiming that the herb causes violence and contributes to opioid addiction.
These claims are simply not accurate, and the fact that key government leaders are making assertions about cannabis that are not based in fact is concerning. Democrats have introduced far-reaching reform at a time when both house and senate are controlled by the Republican party.
Overall, cannabis reform is a bipartisan issue. Key voices on both sides of the isle, such as Rand Paul, have come out in support of cannabis reform. In an era of social conservatism, there are certainly some potential big opponents to cannabis to this landmark legislation.
However, as VICE points out, 20 percent (one-fifth) of Americans now live in states with access to legal recreational cannabis. 95 percent of Americans live with some form of cannabis access, though it may be in extremely limited forms of the plant.
According to a recent poll, 59 percent of Americans are currently in favor of reform. 93 percent of voters support the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes. So, while these new policies may face some tough federal opposition, the support of the people is evidently behind the herb.