Bipartisan Group Launches Congressional Cannabis Caucus
Washington, D.C., February 16, 2017 | Matt Shuckerow
Washington, DC – Representatives Don Young (AK-At Large), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), and Jared Polis (CO-02) today at the U.S. Capitol launched the Congressional Cannabis Caucus – the first of its kind.
The bipartisan Caucus will provide a forum for members of the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss, learn, and work together to establish a better and more rational approach to federal cannabis policy. Co-Chairs Young, Blumenauer, Rohrabacher, and Polis today sent a letter inviting all members of the U.S. House to join the Caucus.
Co-Chairs Launch Cannabis Caucus, Discuss Future of Marijuana Policy in the United States (Click here to watch).
“In 2014, the people of Alaska voted to legalize marijuana. While I do not personally advocate for the use of marijuana, I strongly believe in this issue as a matter of states' rights. It is my responsibility to represent the people of Alaska’s views in Congress, to speak on their behalf, and try to solve the problems they are facing,” said Rep. Don Young. “Because of the conflicts between Federal and State law, marijuana-related issues are no longer theoretical—they are real, and they are affecting real people in Alaska and across the country. The issues I am most focused on are banking, the intersection of legal marijuana and our second amendment rights, and the effect on tribal issues. Alaskan businesses, like those in Washington, in Colorado, and elsewhere, are operating dangerously because they are not allowed to access banks for their revenue. We need to address this. I look forward to working with the Congressional Cannabis Caucus to educate my colleagues in the House on the issues we are facing in Alaska, and hopefully to also develop solutions to these problems.”
“The prohibition of cannabis has been a failure, and Americans across our nation are demanding a more sensible approach,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer. “Following the November election, federal laws are now out of step with 44 states. The time is now to come together and bring the federal government in line with the will of the American people.”
“The federal government’s decades-long approach to marijuana is a colossal, cruel joke, and most Americans know it. Not only have incalculable amounts of taxpayers’ dollars been wasted, but countless lives have been unnecessarily disrupted and even ruined by misguided law enforcement. With big-government mobilizations now widely discredited, it is time to return to the basic principles of federalism, in which the national government allows the states to determine, with their voters’ guidance, the right course to pursue. The states need friends in Congress, and the Cannabis Caucus is here to help,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.
“The results are in. A majority of Americans live in a state that has some form of legal access to cannabis, and the federal prohibition of marijuana has been a complete and utter failure,” said Rep. Jared Polis. “At a time when partisanship is at an all-time high, I’m glad that both Democrats and Republicans can come together and work to reform marijuana laws to align with the voice of the American people. I look forward to getting to work with this Caucus, and to regulate marijuana more like alcohol.”
Increasingly, federal cannabis laws are out of touch with American voters. Ninety-five percent of Americans now live in states or territories that permit, to varying degrees, legal access to medical marijuana and/or cannabis derivatives, with even more states considering expanded access this year. Additionally, a fifth of all Americans now live in a state with legal access to the adult use of marijuana. It's time for Congress to catch up and begin conducting meaningful discussions on the future of marijuana policy in the United States. The Congressional Cannabis Caucus is a step in the right direction.