House Committee Holds Hearing: Cannabis Policies For The Next Decade

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Above Photo: David Amián Valle/Flickr

Washington, DC: Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health on Wednesday 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.”

He added that a key-word search on PubMed, the repository for peer-reviewed research, identifies some 32,000 studies specific to cannabis and its constituents. “While additional research is always welcome, it is not accurate to claim that we do not already have ample data to make evidence-based decisions with regard to marijuana policy,” he said.

Cannabis Caucus Co-Chair Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) 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 US Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

  • Tony

    Soon to be egal state-wide, in one form or another, in a state near you! Well, except for the southern gulf states and Indiana…………

  • Denver is now de-criminalizing the possession and use of Psilocybin, the psychedelic mushroom. Same in Oregon, the two most progressive communities in the USA for many reasons, this among them (also both first legalized pot in the usa). The sooner this backward ignorant society recognizes the value of psychedelics, the sooner the ignorant country can move forward. Read the impressive story of LSD and all psychedelics in the USA in Michael Pollan’s incredible “How to Change Your Mind”. If you have no psychedelic experience, you are not qualified to comment on them.

  • ANTONIO

    That’s it, exactly. These Anglo Saxon Protestants think they have all the answers, and you have to live like they do or get punished, punished, punished. They are autocrats and dictators, who tell everyone what to do and how to live, while keeping absolute control of the society for themselves. They are scum that must be removed from the scene.