The Congressional Cannabis Caucus was just officially introduced at the U.S. Capitol. The members of this panel view marijuana reform as an important issue that deserves discussion. The caucus will help the bipartisan effort to pass bills.
No exact legislative objectives were mentioned in the introduction, according to Salon. It was mentioned, however, that the federal law regarding marijuana needs to be squared away. Powerful voices in marijuana advocacy are members of the caucus.
Earl Blumenauer is a founding member of the caucus. Blumenauer is from Oregon. Also on the panel are Dana Rohrabacher from California, Jared Polis from Colorado and Don Young from Alaska.
Blumenauer said, “The prohibition of cannabis has been a failure and Americans across our nation are demanding a more sensible approach. Following the November election, federal laws are now out of step with 44 states. The time is now to come together and bring the federal government in line with the will of the American people.”
Dana Rohrabacher discussed his personal benefit from using medical marijuana. He said, “About a hundred days ago I had an operation on my arm here, it was real heavy arthritis. As a surfer, I actually wore away all the cartilage in both of my arms. It was really painful. They gave me this candle and the candle was infused with cannabis, and yeah, I put it on my arm and guess what – the pain went away for a couple hours and I got sleep for the first time in weeks after that.”
Representative Polis said, “Many of us have expressed concerns about the new attorney general. We’re also cautiously hopeful that President Trump will maintain a commitment he made on the campaign trail where he said it would be a state issue.”
Rohrabacher introduced Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017. This measure, if passed, will prevent the Justice Department from using federal funds to target marijuana operations operating legally within state compliance guidelines. It would essentially go one step further than the Cole Memo.
Polis also commented that, “Until (the underlying federal law is addressed), the industry exists really at the discretion of the president and the attorney general, and it’s a dangerous place to be. We need to make the case directly to Trump.”
In a joint statement by heavy advocators, including Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance and NORML, the groups said, “The establishment of a Cannabis Caucus will allow members from both parties, who represent diverse constituencies from around the country, to join together for the purpose of advancing sensible cannabis policy reform. The information of this caucus is a testament of how far our country has come on the issue of cannabis policy. There is a growing consensus that cannabis prohibition has failed, and it is time for a more sensible approach.”