Marijuana reform comes to Congress — fast and furious
Marijuana legalization arrived in the U.S. Congress last week — fast and furious.
On June 7, Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner and Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren followed through with their promise to introduce legislation that would change federal law to respect the right of states to decide whether or not to legalize marijuana.
At the same time a companion bill was introduced in the House with Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis as one of the co-sponsors.
The following day (June 8) President Trump followed through on his promise to Gardner to support a “states’ rights”–based bill to do so.
Also on June 8, the 48-member Congressional Black Caucus issued a position paper “supporting efforts to decriminalize the use and possession of marijuana” and saying that states should be allowed to make their own decisions about how to regulate marijuana. The federal government “should be out of the business of prohibition and related law enforcement of marijuana,” it said.
And the governors of 12 states — six Republicans and six Democrats, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper — sent a letter to Congress urging passage of the Gardner/Warren bill, whose title is the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Entrusting States Act (or STATES Act).
And over the weekend, the U.S. Conference of Mayors went further, calling for the complete removal (or “descheduling”) of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act instead of just exempting states that have legalized from the act’s marijuana provisions. Descheduling can be done by the President through executive action, although Congress could certainly do it as well.
The 10th Amendment to the Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
So what are the chances