Marijuana Reform Makes Huge Gains in Congress
It is hard to believe that the same governing body responsible for declaring the “War on Drugs” in the 1970s is about to dismantle a major part of it. But with state after state passing laws do decriminalize, offer medical access or flat-out legalize marijuana, it is unsurprising that the public and political support has spilled into the federal realm.
Now, Congress is about to review four different marijuana bills, each with their own list of outcomes, according to Yahoo Finance.
Ultimately, however, each bill’s aim is quite clear: the eventual elimination of cannabis prohibition at a federal level. On July 10th, this goal will finally be discussed among those with the power to truly make a difference.
In total, four bills will be presented to Congress. Each has its own set of additional goals, but they all aim to see marijuana removed from the list of Schedule I controlled substances.
Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act
This is the simplest of the four. Its only stated purpose is to end federal prohibition, removing cannabis sale, use or possession from the list of federal offences.
The STATES Act
The STATES Act seeks to reinforce the right of states to self-govern as per the U.S. political system. At the moment, the federal government has not done anything to enforce marijuana prohibition in legal states. This would simply solidify the practice into federal law, making it harder for future administrations to dismantle it.
The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act
The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act keeps federal intervention away from legal marijuana states by de-scheduling marijuana. But additionally, it aims to expunge low-level marijuana offences and offer special funding for marijuana businesses run by minorities or women.
The Marijuana Justice Act
Aside from the de-scheduling, this act intends to expunge marijuana-related criminal records and also establish a “community fund” that would then be invested in communities most affected by prohibition – specifically visible minorities.
Still a Victory
Which – if any – of these bills pass is still up in the air. There are strong proponents of legalization and equally strong opponents in Congress and elsewhere. We also have people with a more centrist approach, who feed decriminalization is the best choice.
This is a huge change from just two years ago, when former Attorney General Jeff Sessions got rid of the Cole memo, effectively leaving legal marijuana states in turmoil and uncertainty. Now, the Trump administration has quietly abandoned that stance.
Perhaps the reason that the current government casually softened its approach to marijuana is that the case for legalization is becoming a bi-partisan concern. Although more support exists on the left, there are plenty of Republicans who want to see a change.
Yahoo Finance explains:
“Since his [Jeff Sessions’s] departure, marijuana legalization has become a bipartisan issue, with Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike finding common ground in recent months over legislation designed to protect cannabis-related businesses and financial institutions serving the industry.”
If recent political history has taught us anything, it is that partisan division makes progress rather difficult. This is why there is so much hope for the legalization movement. Initially, its success lay primarily in a single party (Democrats). Now, the cause has a fighting chance, regardless of who is in charge.
WeedAdvisor’s Anticipation of Marijuana Reform
Whether it happens now or in the future, federal marijuana legalization is inevitable. When prohibition falls, WeedAdvisor will be there to help build a new marijuana infrastructure.
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