New efforts by the US congress could make cannabis legal nationwide.
A new bill which is being introduced into congress proposes that the federal government regulate the growing and sale of cannabis in much the same way they do for alcohol. This means growers could obtain a federal permit to produce cannabis from the same organization that oversees tobacco and alcohol.
This particular bill would still allow states to choose for themselves whether they wanted to legalize cannabis but it would no longer be a federal crime to poses the drug.
Another bill from Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon would level a tax on marijuana growers and another tax on importers. The bill also proposes a tax on any cannabis based businesses. If this bill were approved, it would raise an estimated $20 billion a year.
These bills come after several states including Washington and Colorado legalized cannabis despite a federal ban.
“You folks in Washington and my friends in Colorado really upset the apple cart,” Blumenauer said. “We’re still arresting two-thirds of a million people for use of a substance that a majority feel should be legal. … It’s past time for us to step in and try to sort this stuff out.”
Currently these two bills are in their infancy but the pressure in the US is mounting to change the way the law Views Cannabis.
Another US senator named Patrick Leahy is looking into ending minimum sentences for drug crimes. This would prevent people from being handed down long prison sentences for possessing or using drugs.
“We’re seeing enormous political momentum to undo the drug war failings of the past 40 years,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, who has been working with lawmakers on marijuana-related bills. “For the first time, the wind is behind our back.”
Currently people on both sides of the Cannabis debate are awaiting the federal government’s decision regarding, Colorado and Washington. The government could either try to force the states back in line, simply ignore cannabis use in select states or move to reclassify cannabis as a legal substance.