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Federal Cannabis Bills Emerge in New Congress



[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]C[/dropcap]annabis legalization is taking big strides in the 116th United States Congress, and several conservative states looking at legalization bills filed this year.

The House of Representatives gave a nod to popular cannabis culture when filing a potential federal legalization bill. H.R. 420 is a bill that would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and regulate it similarly to alcohol.

The bill was the newest of a series of bills that are riding the legalization wave and attempting some sort of regulation and legalization at the federal level. Reps. Steve Cohen and Don Young reintroduced the Compassionate, Research Expansion and Respect States Act, and Rep. Morgan Griffith introduced a medical cannabis bill like the ones that he’s introduced the last three Congresses.

There also have been several other cannabis-related bills with the designation 420, including California’s Medical Marijuana Program Act and Rhode Island’s 2017 recreational legalization attempt.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer introduced the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act last Wednesday, saying it was time to “end this senseless prohibition.”

“While the bill number may be a bit tongue in cheek, the issue is very serious. Our federal marijuana laws are outdated, out of touch and have negatively impacted countless lives,” Blumenauer said. “Congress cannot continue to be out of touch with a movement that a growing majority of Americans support.”

Along with removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, it would also move control of cannabis activity from the Drug Enforcement Administration to a then-renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana, Firearms and Explosives. A renamed Alcohol, Tobacco and Marijuana Tax and Trade Bureau within the Department of the Treasury along with the Food and Drug Administration would be entrusted with the oversight of cannabis-related law and order.

Federal licenses would be available for cultivation, packaging, retail and the import of cannabis.

Long-time cannabis advocate Blumenauer is also the founder and a co-chair for the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus, which hopes to rationalize federal cannabis policy.


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