The United States House of Representatives has historically been better when it comes to marijuana reform. My old college political science professor would always tell me that’s because Representatives are more likely to support things that may seem ‘controversial’ in politics compared to Senators because they often come from districts that make it easy for them to get re-elected. I’m sure there are more reasons for that, but regardless, the House has had people like Jared Polis and Earl Blumenauer that have fought for marijuana reform for quite awhile, while the Senate is only recently seeing people step up.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that the bills recently introduced as part of the Senate spending package included a considerable amount of pro-marijuana language. The bills would do the following, via legendary activist Tom Angell’s article on Marijuana.Com:
* Prevent the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. Similar language was enacted last year and is current law.
* Prevent the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state industrial hemp research programs. Similar language was enacted last year and is current law.
* Allow doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs to recommend medical marijuana to military veterans, and prevent the V.A. from denying services to veterans because they are medical marijuana patients in accordance with state law.
* Prevent the federal government from punishing banks for doing business with state-legal marijuana providers.
Could you imagine an America where all of those things became a reality? That’s the America I want to live in! Obviously there’s more reforms that need to be made, but if these pieces of legislation get passed by the Senate, that would be federal reform on an epic level. Tom Angell from the Marijuana Majority had the following to say about the proposed reforms:
“We won bipartisan votes on all of these issues this year on either the House floor, in the Senate Appropriations Committee or both, so this is a rare case of Congressional leadership actually listening to their members — and to the American people. Just a few short years ago, politicians used to jump all over each other to be seen as the ‘toughest’ on drugs. But now that polls consistently show that a growing majority of Americans support legalization, more elected officials are beginning to realize that scaling back failed prohibition policies is not only the right thing to do, but that it’s politically smart.”