Lawmakers from both political parties support the bill
The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act” covers a number of measures to decriminalize marijuana. Those measures have seen light in Congress for the past several years, but have never been able to gather enough strength to make it through both chambers. 2019 might be the year that real progress is made and lawmakers from Alaska – on both sides of the political equation, have been able to put aside their party differences to support the latest bills.
The Act, in its latest iteration, looks to have marijuana removed from the federal controlled substances list, as well as to give states complete authority to regulate the marijuana substances they choose. Part of the legislation, the Marijuana Data Collection Act, would allow the study of how legalization of marijuana has impacted those states where it the plant is already legal.
The measures are supported by Alaska Representative Don Young and Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard. Young is the longest-serving Republican in the Senate and the House, as well as the founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. The caucus also has participation by Dana Rohrabacher, a fellow Republican, and Democrats Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis.
Young says of the measures, “I am a passionate supporter of a states’ rights approach to cannabis policy. For too long, the federal government has stood in the way of states that have acted to set their own marijuana policy, and it is long past time Congress modernized these outdated laws.”
Gabbard, who has also announced that she will run for President of the U.S. next year, states, “The impact this has on individuals, potentially leading to criminal records that impact them, their families, their ability to get a job, housing, financial aid for college—the impacts of this are great.”
Whether or not this year’s Act will have more success than the versions introduced since 2011 remains to be seen. However, there is inarguably much more support across the nation than ever before, which will hopefully lead to lawmakers following the wishes of their constituents.