420 FILE--This Wednesday, January 15th, at 10 am EST, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a legislative hearing entitled “Cannabis Policies for the New Decade.”
This marks the first time that members of the Energy and Commerce Committee will hear and debate issues specific to marijuana policy reform.
Now more than ever, congressional action is required to end the failed criminalization of marijuana and amend federal law to ensure that state-legal cannabis programs can operate as intended.
The legislative hearing notice states that members will discuss six specific bills this Wednesday, including the MORE Act, which as you know was recently approved in the House Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan vote of 24-10 and waived by the House Small Business Committee. Although we are not expecting the committee to hold a vote on the bill this week, we are encouraged that lawmakers have prioritized this hearing and we are hopeful that they may take the bill up in the near future.
But not everything looks promising.
Unfortunately, the committee is not calling upon any witnesses to testify explicitly in support of ending our failed policy of marijuana prohibition. Given the makeup of the witness list, which only includes representatives from the DEA, FDA, and NIDA (and the complete absence of a presence to discuss the implications of the individual impacts of criminalization), we must ensure that our voices are not ignored.
It is our hope that lawmakers take an honest assessment of the federal policy changes necessary to create an appropriate federal framework for these state-wide legalization laws to flourish. In order to best maintain the market controls that a majority of states have enacted to promote public health, prevent the distribution of marijuana to minors, ensure safe business practices, and improve public safety, cannabis must be descheduled, notrescheduled, from the Controlled Substances Act.
More information on the hearing can be found at the subcommittee’s website here.
Stay tuned and we’ll have an update with everything you need to know in our Thursday newsletter.
Thanks for staying in this fight.
(Justin Strekal is Political Director at NORML.)