Virginia Republican introduces bill to end federal marijuana prohibition

A freshman Republican representative from Virginia introduced legislation this week that would end the federal prohibition on marijuana use and allow states to fully set their own course on marijuana policy.

The bill seeks to remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Actand resolve the existing conflict between federal and state laws over medical orrecreational use of the drug.

Marijuana is currently a Schedule 1 controlled substance at the federal level, meaning the federal government considers the drug to have aHigh potential for abuseandNo medically accepted use.” But more than half the states have set their own policies allowing either medical or recreational use of marijuana.

One group that provides data services to the marijuana industry estimates that the legal pot industry could be worth $24 billion by 2020 and create 280,000 jobs. In Colorado alone, marijuana sales topped $1.3 billion last year.

In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration reviewed the federal classification of marijuanaand declined to loosen restrictions on the plant.

The Trump administration has been skeptical of the merits of making the drug legally available. Incoming Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and press secretary Sean Spicer hinted that the administration may crack down on marijuana in some states where it’s now legal.

In introducing the bill, Garrett’s statement tackled that skepticism directly:

“In recent weeks, the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised to crack down on federal marijuana crimes,” his office wrote. “During his confirmation, then-Senator Sessions pointed out that if legislators did not like this approach, they should change the laws accordingly.” Garrett anticipates bipartisan support as his legislation makes its way to the appropriate committees of jurisdiction.

Source: Washington Post

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