Despite strong suggestions of a coming cannabis crackdown by embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions, pro-cannabis Congressmen and women filed several bills this session to protect citizens from civil forfeiture, defend state-sanctioned cannabis programs, and end the federal prohibition outright. Unlike previous sessions, fellow Republicans have started to join stalwart GOP cannabis reformer, Dana Rohrabacher in calling for an end to the reefer madness. Though they aren’t making much more progress than Democrats have in previous sessions.
The Cannabist’s Alicia Wallace recently rounded up a list of the five bills in play which could reshape cannabis in America:
H.R. 331: Within the opening week of the session, California Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced States’ Medical Marijuana Property Rights Act, a bill designed to protect legitimate cannabis businesses from civil forfeiture. Currently assigned to two subcommittees from two committee. Stuck in subcommittee since the end of January, with no hearing date set.
H.R. 714: By the end of the month, Virginia Republican Rep. Morgan Griffith reintroduced LUMMA (Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marihuana Act), his 2015 legislation to remove cannabis from the federal schedule of controlled substances and allow doctors to once again prescribe cannabis as medicine. Stuck in subcommittee since the beginning of February, with no hearing date set.
H.R. 715: Griffith’s companion piece of reintroduced legislation, The Compassionate Access Act, calls for a rescheduling of cannabis and separating cannabidiol from the definition of “marihuana.” Stuck in subcommittee, hasn’t seen action since Valentine’s Day.
H.R. 975: Californian Rep. Dana Rohrabacher reintroduced his Respect State Marijuana Laws Act (of 2017), which, true to its title, protects people “acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.” Despite making a big splash when it was introduced and assigned to committee on Feb. 7, it hasn’t been heard from since.
Tom Angell, of the pro-marijuana legalization group Marijuana Majority, said in an email that “while most of our federal gains to date have been through amendments attached to much broader spending bills, I’m hopeful that with the growing number of states changing their laws these stand-alone bills [like Garrett’s] will get enough traction to at least finally start getting hearings.”
H.R. 1227: Lastly, at the end of February, Virginia Republican Thomas Garrett filed The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (of 2017) as a Republican reintroduction of a 2015 bill by Bernie Sanders, ending the federal cannabis prohibition entirely and striking the word from the Controlled Substances Act. Sanders gained zero traction on the bill last round. So far, Garrett has been able to gather cosponsors from both sides of the aisle, but no action since being introduced and assigned to committee two weeks ago.
You can follow the progress of these and others federal bills at Congress.Gov.
READ MORE: Guide to federal marijuana bills, Congressional Cannabis Caucus by Alicia Wallace, The Cannabist