I have never hidden the fact that I have a man crush on United States Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). He has served my home state proudly, and I have always been honored to tell people that he is from Oregon. He is not my Congressman, as I don't live in his district, but I have always supported him and will continue to do so until he retires someday. He's always been at the head of the pack leading the charge for federal reform since he's been in Congress.
I recently received an e-mail from his office listing his top priorities for 2016. In addition to improving infrastructure and improving agriculture policy, Earl Blumenauer listed 'Ending the Failed Federal Prohibition of Marijuana' as one of his top three priorities for 2016. Below is what he had to say:
For years, our state has been far ahead of the federal government on marijuana policy. Our leadership was further cemented last year when Oregon legalized the adult use of marijuana. Now, Oregon is once again demonstrating leadership through its responsible implementation of this law.
Our path forward would be much easier without the confusing patchwork of laws that trap businesses and regulators between federal and state governments. The federal government should be a partner, not an obstacle. That's why I'm working to make sure legal marijuana businesses have access to banking services and not forced to operate as cash only, as well as taxing them fairly and enabling them to deduct business expenses like all other businesses. I'm also working to legalize and regulate marijuana at the federal level, further protect medical marijuana patients, promote more research, and reduce the unconscionable racial disparities in the enforcement of drug laws.
I was lucky enough to attend a brunch for Earl Blumenauer recently, during which former Congressman Barney Frank was honored. Earl Blumenauer reiterated to the crowd that he expects it to be 'game over' for federal marijuana prohibition by the end of the decade. I think that 2016 is obviously a long shot, but I think that there will be progress when it comes to getting more Congressional seats filled by people that are on the right side of history, in addition to hopefully convincing some sitting members of Congress to also get on the right side of history. Earl will be a big part of that in 2016. A heartfelt thank you to Earl Blumenauer for leading the way!