or to vote comment and more!
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he’s putting together a new federal marijuana legalization bill that would allow states freedom to “do whatever they’d like” and put tax revenues into minority communities most harmed by prohibition.
A New York Democrat who filed a marijuana descheduling bill in 2018, Schumer said his latest effort draws from a number of reform bills. He reportedly is working with both Democratic senators and some Republicans.
For the first time in history, a congressional committee has approved a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition.
The House Judiciary Committee passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act in a 24-10 vote on Wednesday, setting the stage for a full floor vote.
The vote saw two Republicans—Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Tom McClintock (R-CA)—join their Democratic colleagues in support of the bill.
Given the title of the hearing, it is no surprise that the majority party witnesses focused mostly on how communities of color have been disproportionately targeted for arrest under cannabis prohibition, and how that has saddled a generation of young people of color with criminal records that impact their ability to secure gainful employment, access public assistance benefits, and obtain financial aid to attend college.
With a congressional committee set to hold a first-ever hearing on ending federal marijuana prohibition on Wednesday, debate among legalization advocates over which piece of cannabis reform legislation would be the most effective and politically achievable is intensifying.
A key part of that conversation concerns the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to exempt state-legal marijuana activity from federal enforcement actions.
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.
As state legalization measures in New York and New Jersey stumbled near the finish line this week, better news emerged from Washington, DC, as Congress made progress on two of the most prominent federal reform measures.
This year wasn’t necessarily revolutionary when it comes to marijuana in America, but it was a year marked by numerous states continuing to push the legalization efforts of their neighbors. But supporters still say it was a sea-changing year, in part because between Jeff Sessions being removed as attorney general and the first midwestern state voting to legalize recreational marijuana.
“I think 2018 was the year it crested,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tells Rolling Stone. “It was a terrific year.”
“The states to watch are New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Florida, with New York and New Jersey really being the ones that are more likely, I think, to go recreational in the next year or so,” said Ian Stewart, partner at Wilson Elser and speaker at the in March 2019.
Marijuana advocate Charlie Wilson says support for legalization is no longer a partisan issue, thanks in large part to a shift in the public's views.
Wilson, who is the chief financial officer of Green Bits, emphasized the growing support among both Republicans and Democrats for a marijuana legalization bill, the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act.
If passed, the bipartisan bill would allow states to regulate marijuana without federal interference.
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.