U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to decriminalize cannabis by removing the drug from the Federal controlled substances list.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren last week sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland urging that the Department of Justice remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances list.
The Democratic senators, from New Jersey and Massachusetts, respectively, wrote that descheduling marijuana is long overdue and “would allow states to regulate cannabis as they see fit, begin to remedy the harm caused by decades of racial disparities in enforcement of cannabis laws, and facilitate valuable medical research.”
Today, talk of legalization knows no bounds. Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have reportedly flirted with the idea of forming a "bloc" that will legalize adult-use marijuana at the same time and by imposing the same statutory scheme. Activists are pushing measures to put legalization on the ballot in 2020 in Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, and Oklahoma.
A group of senators are pressing top federal drug and health agencies to provide an update on the status of efforts to increase the number of authorized marijuana manufacturers for research purposes.
A letter from the lawmakers—led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and addressed to the heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Office of National Drug Control Policy and Department of Health and Human Services—emphasizes the need to expand the supply of research-grade cannabis as more states opt to legalize the plant for medical or recreational use.
The STATES Act (or the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act, yikes) amends the current Controlled Substances Act to prohibit federal interference in states that have their own legal weed laws on the books. Right now, 10 states plus Washington, D.C. have chosen to legalize recreational weed, while 33 more states allow medical marijuana use. That's a staggering majority of states with green laws and green regulations in place. Its sponsors hope to get it through Congress before the next election—and the sooner, the better.
People in Colorado still remember John Hickenlooper’s crack after the state legalized marijuana, a move he opposed: “Don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”
But Mr. Hickenlooper, the governor at the time of the 2012 initiative allowing recreational use of cannabis, eventually changed his mind. He acknowledged that fears of increased use by children did not materialize, and he boasted of the tax revenues for social programs that regulated sales delivered.
A growing list of Democratic presidential contenders want the U.S. government to legalize marijuana, reflecting a nationwide shift as more Americans look favorably on cannabis.
Making marijuana legal at the federal level is the “smart thing to do,” says California Sen. Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor whose home state is the nation’s largest legal pot shop. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a prominent legalization advocate on Capitol Hill, says the war on drugs has been a “war on people.”
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, one of half a dozen Democratic senators running for the White House, is reintroducing a bill on Thursday that would fundamentally end the federal government's prohibition on marijuana.
Marijuana reform in Congress has gained substantial momentum in 2018 and June was no exception.
Beginning with the introduction of the bipartisan STATES Act from Senators Warren and Gardner, to the Joyce/Leahy medical marijuana amendment (formerly known as Rohrabacher-Blumenauer) passing at the committee level through non-controversial voice votes, it appears that many in Congress are finally joining their constituents in supporting marijuana reform.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Saturday quickly endorsed legislation that would stop the federal government from enforcing anti-marijuana laws in states that have legalized the drug.
Murphy, who is pushing to legalize cannabis in New Jersey for recreational use, was one of 12 governors signing a letter to congressional leaders of both parties in support of the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act.