Eight U.S. states and the nation’s capital have made marijuana legal for all adults, and an additional 21 states have enacted medical marijuana laws that allow certain individuals to use and possess marijuana with recommendations from their doctors. On the federal level, the House has voted twice to end the crackdown on medical marijuana, demonstrating bipartisan support for real federal marijuana policy change.
The president himself recognizes the benefit of these reforms. While on the campaign trail, Donald Trump was asked his view on state marijuana policy reform, and he consistently said it should be a states’ rights decision. There is now more momentum than ever for ending marijuana prohibition.
Click here for a summary of federal marijuana policy reform efforts introduced in the 115th Congress.
Legislation we are tracking in the 115th Congress
Protecting the Principle of Federalism in Marijuana Policies: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) reintroduced H.R. 975, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, with strong bipartisan support. This legislation would modify the federal Controlled Substances Act to protect anyone acting in compliance with state marijuana laws from federal prosecution and resolve the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, ensuring states can determine their own policies. Additionally, Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA) introduced H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017, also with bipartisan support. This legislation, originally introduced in 2015 into the Senate by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and deletes all marijuana-specific offenses found in that act. It also prohibits the shipping or transportation of marijuana if the recipient would be in violation of state marijuana laws.
Taxing and Regulating Marijuana: S. 776, the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, and H.R.s 1823 and 1841, the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act and the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, seek to replace marijuana prohibition with a comprehensive licensing and oversight system to tax and regulate the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana. The Marijuana Revenue Act is sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act is sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act is sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO).
Medical Marijuana for Veterans: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the Veterans Equal Access Act, H.R. 1820, which would expand access to medical marijuana to our national heroes by removing the gag order on VA health care providers preventing them from discussing and recommending participation in state medical marijuana programs with their patients.
Easing the Tension Between State and Federal Law: The Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act of 2017, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and in the House by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), exempts individuals and entities from federal marijuana laws if they are acting in compliance with state or tribal law, allows for expungement of certain federal marijuana convictions, and addresses multiple areas of federal law that currently penalize individuals for activities related to marijuana activity that is legal under the state law.