In a sign of the times, a former prosecutor has joined forces with a Republican colleague to file a federal bill to end federal cannabis prohibition. Representative David Joyce a former Geauga County prosecutor in Ohio and Rep. Don Young, both co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus, seek to remove cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances. Their bill would end the federal war on the cannabis community while also allowing the industry access to banking and other financial services. This proposal would be a huge step in the right direction, but is not as progressive as the MORE Act that passed last year, as Marijuana Moment reported:
The main crux of the legislation is to federally deschedule cannabis—and it’s similar to past bipartisan proposals—but this one goes a few steps further with language on legal protections and mandates for federal studies into medical cannabis. It does not contain social justice provisions to repair the past harms of the war on drugs, however.
“With more than 40 states taking action on this issue, it’s past time for Congress to recognize that continued cannabis prohibition is neither tenable nor the will of the American electorate,” Joyce, co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus (CCC), said in a press release.
Under the proposal, marijuana would be removed from the Controlled Substances Act, clearing states to enact legalization. Cannabis could be imported and exported across states, though transporting marijuana to states where such activity is unlawful would remain federally prohibited.
This proposal, known as the Common Sense Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses, and Medical Professionals Act, could set up a serious debate within the drug policy reform community as legalizing cannabis the right way has become a mantra. There is certainly a lot of movement behind lobbying efforts to implement equity provisions that help right the wrongs of the Drug War, as we’ve seen with legislation passed in New York, and new legislation introduced in Oregon and other states. Personally, I tend to support all bills that improve upon the status quo, especially when they will keep people out of prison and save lives. However, I also support passing the best bills possible. No matter how the debate shakes out, it’s great that we’re having this debate and seeing support for ending prohibition in such a bipartisan manner; even led by a former prosecutor that used to enforce Reefer Madness prohibition.