Federal lawmakers gathered in the nation’s capital on Wednesday in an attempt to jump start a proposal aimed at dragging the United States out of the seemingly bottomless pit of marijuana prohibition.
Earlier this year, Representative Thomas Garrett of Virginia began pushing a bill called the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act,” which calls for pot to become a part of legitimate American commerce. The proposal, which was officially introduced back in February, would eliminate the cannabis plant from the DEA’s Controlled Substances Act and allow pot products to be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco.
As it stands, the bill currently has only 11 co-sponsors prepared to take to the streets in the name of legal weed – hardly enough to even give it a fighting chance in the Capitol. But this modest group of lawmakers believes that, no matter how much the cards are stacked against them, they must continue to try and persuade other members of Congress to take this issue more seriously. Otherwise, the country is doomed to continue jeopardizing the lives of hundreds of thousands of otherwise law-biding citizens.
"I have long believed justice that isn't blind, isn't justice. Statistics indicate that minor narcotics crimes disproportionately hurt areas of lower socioeconomic status and what I find most troubling is that we continue to keep laws on the books that we do not enforce," Garrett said earlier this week outside the Capitol.
There is more at stake than just the bullying of innocent Americans that has lawmakers on the prowl for support. The current administration has signaled that it is prepared to renew the War on Drugs – a move that could be catastrophic to the whole of civil society.
Ever since President Trump put Jeff Sessions in charge of the U.S. Department of Justice, there have been concerns that he could take every opportunity to put an end to the “legal marijuana state.” Although there is a flimsy amendment tucked inside a government spending bill that technically prevents the Justice Department from targeting the medical marijuana community, President Trump has said that amendment carries no weight.
But Representative Earl Blumenauer, a member of the newly formed Congressional Cannabis Caucus, says President Trump is “essentially irrelevant” and in no way able to stop to the progress of marijuana legalization without being tarred and feathered in his sleep.
“There are some challenges ahead,” Blumenauer told the Independent Journal Review. “But after four decades, I have never been more optimistic than I am this morning that the end is in sight to be able to eliminate the failed policy of prohibition, to be able to allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit, and being able to extend medical marijuana to everybody in America.”
Unfortunately, it seems highly unlikely that Garrett’s “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” will gain any more support than it already has. And with the Republicans dominating the controls of the Congressional grind, the chances of this bill, or any other marijuana-related measure, being heard this year are slim to none.