The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 would effectively legalize cannabis on a federal level. The bill currently has 11 co-sponsors, and was originally introduced by former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in 2015. The bill’s primary co-sponsor is Rep. Thomas Garrett, a former criminal prosecutor, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii. On May 16, Garrett and his team held a press conference to remind the public of his groundbreaking bill.
House Resolution 1227 would deregulate cannabis and remove cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from the Schedule of Controlled Substances, leaving states with the option to legalize cannabis as they please. Descheduling the plant is the only pathway that cannabis could be legalized on a federal level.
“My background on this issue is shaped by my own experiences as a criminal prosecutor, where in fact, I did enforce the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia as they relate to marijuana, and some would say, did so quite vigorously,” Garrett told The Hill. He admitted that he eventually grew tired of “creating criminals out of people who otherwise follow the law.” Other judges nationwide have expressed reluctance to charge people with cannabis laws.
“If there’s anything I cannot tolerate as a citizen and as a prosecutor, it is the unequal application of justice,” he added. Gabbard called current federal laws against cannabis “archaic.” In the past, Gabbard supported legislation such as the Industrial Hemp Farming Act.
Speakers at the press conference included U.S. Congressmen Tom Garrett and Scott Taylor and the parents of Haley Smith, Sophia Miller, and Jennifer Collins. Jason Amatucci of the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition also spoke as well as several other advocacy organizations. The parents who spoke focused on the healing effects of CBD on children who suffer near-constant seizures from illnesses like Dravet syndrome.
Should the resolution pass, cannabis and THC would be treated the same way that tobacco (and its derivatives) and alcohol are treated in America.