Oregon Congressman Rep. Earl Blumenauer, known for his progressive policies and colorful bow-ties.

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Oregon Rep. Blumenauer: Cannabis has ‘Come of Age Politically’

During a conference call with reporters today, Oregon Congressman Rep. Earl Blumenauer said “marijuana has gone mainstream” and “has come of age politically.” He warned that cannabis industry operators should not be “coasting” in the age of Trump but rather continue being “good citizens” and striving for the “gold standard” to thwart a federal crackdown.

“We’re continuing to watch the evolution of the issue as more and more people are involved, as the industry grows and as the consensus that this ought to be something that the federal government ought not to try and suppress, regardless of peoples’ individual feelings about marijuana,” he said. “The overwhelming number appeared not to want the federal government to interfere with what states do.”

Blumenauer, a Democrat and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, has replaced recently retired Congressman Sam Farr as the titular sponsor of the now-titled “Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment,” which eliminates Justice Department funding for enforcement of federal laws against medical cannabis in legal states. He said the amendment, which sunsets this session, has historically drawn majority support from both sides of the aisle and is likely to, again, be successful this session; however, he admitted that “nothing is certain until it happens.”

When pressed about signals of a potential crackdown from the Trump Administration, Blumenauer said that “one thing has been consistent and that is we’ve received inconsistent signals from this administration on a wide variety of issues.”

“I think what is important is, first of all, what the candidate Trump said on the campaign trail that the state ought to be able to pursue with what the states are doing – I think that’s consistent with what most people I know who have some familiarity with Donald Trump think is his actual opinion,” he said. “…Marijuana got a lot more votes than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.”

Blumenauer explained that there are three main areas this year for possible Congressional action on cannabis policy and those measures are “less likely to be standalone legislation,” but “opportunities to be able to put something onto other vehicles.”

These three main areas, he said, include passing bills that would eliminate the federal roadblocks to cannabis research, end “punitive taxation” which, thanks to IRS code 280E, forces cannabis businesses to pay “three, four, or five times” what similarly situated businesses pay, and providing access to banking services for the cannabis industry.

Blumenauer is joined by fellow caucus member and Oregon Congressman Sen. Ron Wyden in the  introduction of a package of bills knows as the “Path to Marijuana Reform” which addresses these issues in addition to civil forfeiture and decriminalization.

“I think it’s highly likely that we will be able to take some vehicles that are moving through Congress and deal with these three provisions that have overwhelming bi-partisan support – have no major opposition – and it would make a profound difference in being able for the industry to function,” he said. “Ultimately, I am confident we will reschedule or deschedule marijuana, but in the meantime these provisions are critical and I think are highly likely to occur.”

Tomorrow, activists with DCMJ plan on distributing free cannabis to members of Congress, Congressional staffers, credentialed journalists, support staff, interns, and other Capitol Hill workers 21-and-older with valid Congressional Identification.

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