Congress holds hearing on ‘cannabis policies for new decade’
Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health last week held a legislative hearing, “Cannabis Policies for the New Decade,” during which they considered multiple legislative bills aimed at amending federal cannabis laws. This marks the first time that members of the Energy and Commerce Committee have debated issues specific to marijuana policy reform.
However, during the three-hour hearing, members declined to explicitly discuss the merits of any specific cannabis measure before the committee.
“At a time when nearly 70 percent of all Americans want to end our failed federal policy of blanket cannabis criminalization, it is unfortunate to see so many participants at this hearing advocating largely for business as usual,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. He continued: “The fact of the matter is that legalization and regulation work. Eleven states regulate the adult use of marijuana and 33 states provide for medical cannabis access. The time for federal policy to reflect this political and cultural reality is now. Congress should promptly approve the MORE Act and put the failed legacy of marijuana criminalization behind us.”
NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano expressed disappointment that Committee members failed to advance any of the bills before it, but was not surprised. “Many of these proposals, like The MORE Act, seek to fundamentally change federal marijuana policies,” he said. “However, the witnesses before the committee are proponents and purveyors of the status quo.”
Cannabis Caucus Co-Chair Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) stated, “I’m pleased Chairman Pallone and Health Subcommittee Chair Eshoo made this hearing a priority. It was important to hear a number of senior members of Congress affirming the change that is taking place at the state level and affirming the contradictions that are created by the federal government being out of step and out of touch. It’s past time for Congress to catch up with the American people.”
Six cannabis-related bills are currently before the Committee, including HR 3884, the MORE Act, which recently was approved in the House Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan vote of 24-10 and waived by the House Small Business Committee.
Committee members announced their intent to hold a follow up hearing in the future.
Witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing were representatives from the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
1 in 7 consumers bought cannabis out of state
ONTARIO, Canada — One in seven U.S. cannabis consumers acknowledge having purchased cannabis from an out-of-state market within the past year, according to data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
A pair of investigators affiliated with the University of Waterloo in Canada assessed cannabis purchasing habits of 4,320 subjects who acknowledged having consumed cannabis in the past 12 months.
Overall, 15 percent of participants said that they obtained cannabis from another state. Respondents in states where adult-use cannabis sales are legal were less likely to make out-of-state purchases than were respondents in states where cannabis access is prohibited.
Respondents residing in the south-central region of the United States, which includes Texas, and the north-central region of the United States, which includes Nebraska and the Dakotas, were most likely to acknowledge making out-of-state purchases. Those subjects residing in the pacific region of the United States (California, Oregon, and Washington) were least likely to admit having done so.
Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. Visit norml.org for more information.