Is Marijuana Legalization Finally Coming? Congress Says Probably; Trump Says Why Not?

House bill H.R. 1227 may gain enough bipartisan support to federally decriminalize and reschedule marijuana.

We have all heard the stories for the past decade, if not more, about marijuana becoming legalized nationwide, but we became used to a pattern of bills being introduced, rejected, and most commonly just ignored. Like many factors under the Trump administration, circumstances have changed–for the better.

House Representative Thomas A. Garrett, Jr., an Atlanta, GA born Republican from the 5th District of Virginia has introduced the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 (H.R. 1227) on February 27, 2017, and is expected to come up for a House vote later this year. What’s unique about this bill is not only that it’s primary sponsor being aRepublican, but also what’s inside the bill.

According to Congress.gov, “This bill amends the Controlled Substances Act to provide that the Act’s regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal penalties do not apply to with respect to marijuana.

It removes marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinols [tetrahydrocannabinol] from schedule I. (A schedule I controlled substance is a drug, substance, or chemical that: has a high potential for abuse; has no currently accepted medical value; and is subject to regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal penalties under the Controlled Substances Act.)

Additionally, it eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who imports, exports, manufactures, distributes, or possesses with intent to distribute marijuana.

The bill does, however, make it a crime to knowingly ship or transport marijuana into a state where its receipt, possession, or sale is prohibited. A violator is subject to criminal penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to one year, or both.”

This bill represents what has long been called for due to the unnecessary damage cannabis prohibition has done to primarily the youth and African-American community. Unlike the pseudo-law that is being enforced now due to the states refusing to comply with outdated federal regulations and proceeded with medical and/or recreational legalization to the benefit of their law enforcement departments, education systems, and state budgets–with all of this being possible due to the dramatic increases in state tax
revenue generated from marijuana sales. The United States’ state-by-state legalization experiment has come to a successful end and now the federal government is finally acting on the matter.

In regard to Congress, it is Republican controlled and that brings about a set of challenges on its own. Although, sentiment has changed about marijuana among this 155th Republican Congress as seen in the video below, and that is a significant factor in having this bill passed.

Moreover, with the recent statements of support by President Trump, there is unprecedented backing from the Executive Branch as well, only accelerating this effort. The debate over marijuana has long been raging and will culminate by the end of 2018 if this H.R. 1227 bill passes.

Only time will tell if the United States will vote to decisively end its prohibition of marijuana in 2018, but all signs lead are leading to a resounding yes.

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