Aptly-named cannabis bill its Congress floors

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Representative Earl Blumenauer introduces House Bill 420

Representative Earl Blumenauer has often been involved in trying to get the U.S. to change its stance on marijuana. He was behind several measures last year that sought advances on a federal level and was also a strong supporter of the 2018 Farm Bill. He has now introduced a new bill designed to remove marijuana from the list of substances on the Controlled Substances Act and chose a name for the measure that won’t be lost on any marijuana fans. His bill is simply called House Bill 420 (HB 420).

According to the legislative document, the bill calls for the “Removal from schedule of controlled substances. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et sequ.), the Attorney General shall, not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, issue a final order that removes marijuana in any form from all scheduled under section 202(c) of that Act (21 U.S.C. 812(c)).”

HB 420, if passed, could be one of the first steps in eventual legalization of marijuana at the federal level. While the bill is obviously going to meet resistance, the increased attention given to the marijuana industry in recent times could help it maneuver through the political quagmire.

On a related topic, Congress now has two new members for its bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus. Representatives Jared Polis from Colorado and Dana Rohrabacher from California exited recently, opening two seats that have now been filled by California’s Barbara Lee and Ohio’s Dave Joyce. Both join Blumenauer and Arkansas Representative Don Young in their efforts to push forward marijuana legislation.

Lee, the first person of color to have been selected to co-chair the caucus, is ready to get involved in the fight. She stated, “I am committed to ensuring that marijuana reform goes hand-in-hand with criminal justice reform so we can repair some of the harm of the failed War on Drugs. We must also work to build an industry that is equitable and inclusive of the communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition.”

Joyce is ready to tackle the issues, as well. He said that he was proud to join his colleagues in developing “commonsense cannabis policies,” adding, “It is critical that we protect the rights of the states across the country, like Ohio, that have already done so at the state level. The federal government’s interference in this arena has stifled important medical research, interfered with doctors and patients making treatment decisions and harmed state-legal businesses. I look forward to working with Congressman Blumenauer, Congressman Young and Congresswoman Lee to advance sensible cannabis reforms that will benefit our nation’s veterans, patients, and businesses across the country.”