WASHINGTON — Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, one among Congress’ most vocal marijuana proponents, despatched Democratic leadership a memo Wednesday outlining steps Congress ought to take to legalize the Schedule I drug.
“Congress is out of step with the American people and the states on cannabis,” Blumenauer wrote within the memo, citing polling displaying that 69 % of registered voters help legalizing marijuana. “We have an opportunity to correct course if Democrats win big in November.”
The founding father of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus stated there isn’t any query that the federal marijuana prohibition will finish and that Democrats ought to paved the way or lose the difficulty.
“If we fail to act swiftly, I fear as the 2020 election approaches, Donald Trump will claim credit for our work in an effort to shore up support — especially from young voters,” Blumenauer stated. “Democrats must seize the moment.”
Congress wants to enact laws softening the federal stance on marijuana by the top of 2019, he argued, providing Democratic leadership a blueprint on actions they need to take over the course of subsequent yr.
In the primary quarter of 2019, congressional committees ought to maintain hearings on the subject to debate potential coverage fixes, Blumenauer stated. For instance, the Judiciary Committee might maintain a listening to on descheduling the drug, Energy and Commerce might look at marijuana analysis and Financial Services might take a look at obstacles to banking providers and capital for marijuana growers and entrepreneurs.
By the second quarter committees ought to give you the option to start marking up laws to assist slender the hole between federal and state marijuana legal guidelines, Blumenauer stated.
Policy options Blumenauer floated embrace addressing racial injustices associated to the unequal software of federal marijuana legal guidelines, offering veterans entry to ache and PTSD hashish remedies, eradicating limitations to marijuana analysis and equally taxing marijuana companies.
The House ought to then move a marijuana package deal combining these committee-passed payments earlier than the annual August recess, Blumenauer recommended.
“With the marijuana policy gap diminished, after months of hearings and markups, the House should pass a full descheduling bill and work with Senate allies to guide the bill through Senate passage,” he stated of his objective for September to December.
“Our chances in the Senate depend on both the November elections and increased public pressure following House passage,” Blumenauer added.
“While the Senate has been slower on marijuana policy reform than the House and the American people, it now has almost 20 introduced bills in an effort to catch up with the House. We must build on this momentum.”
Blumenauer offered an inventory of present laws lawmakers might look to reintroduce and debate subsequent yr.