On Thursday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Rep. Don Young reintroduced two federal bills that would legalize cannabis at the federal level and lay out the groundwork for an agency to identify the overall impact of state cannabis laws in regards to public health.
The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019 would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and allow state cannabis laws to fall in line with the federal government. The Marijuana Data Collection Act would require the National Academy of Sciences to study and report on the status of state cannabis programs and their impact on public health, safety, and the economy.
The bills were originally introduced in 2017 and 2018. During past sessions, The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 ended up attracting 39 cosponsors, and The Marijuana Data Collection Act ended up attracting 34 cosponsors.
“We are grateful to Representatives Gabbard and Young for adding to the bipartisan chorus of voices in Congress calling for cannabis policy reform by introducing these bills,” stated Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “States should be able to make their own cannabis laws without fear of federal interference, and lawmakers deserve to see comprehensive research on what an increasing number of states are already proving—that regulating cannabis works.”
Many studies on the impact of the nationwide cannabis industry on public health is biased one way or another. “We look forward to a study conducted by an independent federal agency that isn’t invested in continuing marijuana prohibition,” Smith added.
Although the bills were originally introduced before, there’s a better chance for the bills to move forward in today’s political climate, given the growing number of states that have implemented medical or recreational cannabis laws. Recreational cannabis is legal in 10 states and the District of Columbia, and medical cannabis is legal in 33 states.