Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) sent a blueprint for cannabis legalization to Democratic leaders in Congress on Wednesday, Forbes reports.
“Congress is out of step with the American people and the states on cannabis. We have an opportunity to correct course if Democrats win big in November. There’s no question: cannabis prohibition will end. Democrats should lead the way. If we fail to act swiftly, I fear as the 2020 election approaches, Donald Trump will claim credit for our work in an effort to shore up support — especially from young voters. Democrats must seize the moment.” — Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, in written statement to Democrat leaders
What’s the plan?
- Assuming Democrats retake the House this winter, Blumenauer says that during the first quarter of 2019 they should immediately start congressional committee hearings to debate fixes — including steps to undo some of the damages of cannabis prohibition, such as finding education loans for students who have been convicted of cannabis possession.
- Starting in April, Blumenauer says committees should “start marking up bills in their jurisdiction” to “once and for all legalize marijuana at the federal level.” Issues he suggests are addressed include racial injustices that have resulted from cannabis enforcement, giving veterans access to cannabis for PTSD and pain relief, improving access to cannabis for researchers, and providing tax relief to struggling cannabis businesses.
- By August 2019, Blumenauer says the House should pass a package of cannabis reform bills addressing the above issues.
- Blumenauer says the House should look seriously at descheduling the plant entirely during the final quarter of 2019. “Our chances in the Senate depend on both the November elections and increased public pressure following House passage,” he wrote.
“By the end of 2019,” Blumenaur writes, “marijuana will be legal at the federal level, and states allowed to responsibly regulate its use. The federal government will not (interfere) with state efforts to responsibly regulate marijuana use within their borders.”
Rep. Blumenauer — who represents voters in Portland, Oregon — is one of the most canna-friendly members of Congress: his name is attached to the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer Amendment, which is included in the annual spending bill to block federal interference with state-legal medical cannabis operations, and he is a founding member of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.