A modest group of federal lawmakers assembled this week in the nation's capital to generate some additional interest in a proposal that would drag the United States out of the pits of marijuana prohibition.
Representative Thomas Garrett of Virginia introduced a bill earlier this year called the "Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act," which essentially would eliminate the cannabis plant from the confines of the Controlled Substances Act and allow weed to be taxed and regulated all across the nation in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco.
The lawmaker, along with the 11 co-sponsors that have now signed on in support of this legislation, believes it is time for Congressional forces to get serious about this reform in order to prevent hundreds of thousands of otherwise law-biding citizens from getting jammed up in the criminal justice system.
"I have long believed justice that isn't blind, isn't justice. Statistics indicate that minor narcotics crimes disproportionately hurt areas of lower socioeconomic status and what I find most troubling is that we continue to keep laws on the books that we do not enforce," Garrett said.
But its not just the risk of innocent Americans being grudge humped by decades of injustice that has lawmakers jumping up and down on the Hill to make weed legal.
Ever since President Trump put anti-drug hound Jeff Sessions in command of the U.S. Department of Justice, there have been concerns that the marijuana industry is at risk of being man handled by federal law.
Although marijuana is now legal in over half the nation, it remains an outlaw substance in the eyes of the U.S. government. The only protection in place is a measly, temporary amendment tucked inside a federal spending bill that technically makes it illegal for the Justice Department to spend tax dollars to go after the medical marijuana community.
However, as President Trump so arrogantly put it in a recent signing statement, "I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." This means if Sessions deems it necessary to start kicking down the doors of medical marijuana dispensaries, "the king" will support the call.
Yet, Representative Earl Blumenauer, a member of the highly publicized Congressional Cannabis Caucus, says President Trump is "essentially irrelevant" and cannot stop the progress that has been made over the years with respect to marijuana reform in the United States.
"There are some challenges ahead," Blumenauer told the Independent Journal Review. "But after four decades, I have never been more optimistic than I am this morning that the end is in sight to be able to eliminate the failed policy of prohibition, to be able to allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit, and being able to extend medical marijuana to everybody in America."
Unfortunately, there is still not enough momentum on Capitol Hill to get Garrett's "Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017" the action it needs to win the support of Congress.
Similar bills have been introduced throughout the past couple of years--none have so much as been given a hearing.
This article originally appeared on The Fresh Toast: a lifestyle and entertainment platform with heaping sides of cannabis--you can read more, here.
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