Representatives Don Young and Tulsi Gabbard Introduce Landmark Bipartisan Marijuana Reform
Washington, D.C. -- Representatives Don Young (AK-AL) and Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) introduced two bipartisan marijuana bills:
The lawmakers held a press conference with NORML, the Minority Cannabis Business Association, the National Holistic Healing Center Medical Marijuana Dispensary, the Veterans Cannabis Coalition, and supporters, to urge immediate passage of these bills.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said: “Our archaic marijuana policies– based on stigma and outdated myths–have been used to wage a failed War on Drugs. Families have been torn apart, communities left fractured, and over-criminalization and mass incarceration have become the norm. In 2017 alone, our country arrested 600,000 people just for possession of marijuana. Our bipartisan legislation takes a step toward ending the failed War on Drugs, ending the federal prohibition on marijuana, and ensuring that our policies are guided by facts and the truth.”
Erik Altieri, Executive Director, NORML, said: “The End Federal Prohibition Act is about acknowledging political, scientific, and economic reality. Marijuana legalization is here to stay and it is time that federal policy reflect that. This legislation is effective in its simplicity, it will deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and end federal prohibition once and for all, full stop.”
Shanita Penny, President, Minority Cannabis Industry Association (MCBA), said: “The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019 removes a roadblock impeding criminal justice reform, patient and consumer access, research and innovation. Removing marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act is essential to comprehensive reform and the evolution of the cannabis industry into one that is equitable and sustainable.”
“We applaud Representatives Gabbard and Young for engaging in the important issue of ending federal marijuana prohibition,” said Queen Adesuyi, Policy Coordinator for Drug Policy Alliance. “We believe that marijuana reform must acknowledge that the decades of harm caused by prohibition fell on the backs of communities of color. Legislation must deschedule and further address harms comprehensively. The bills introduced today should be a part of the conversation as Congress tackles marijuana with a racial justice lens.”
David Mangone, Esq., Director of Government Affairs & Counsel, Americans for Safe Access, said: “The Marijuana Data Collection Act represents a critical foundation to larger cannabis reform. Without quality data, it is impossible to move policy forward. The National Academies has already recognized the therapeutic potential of cannabis, and we trust that the data obtained by this bill will show that opponents of medical cannabis have been hiding behind weak science and even weaker talking points.”
Regarding the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019, Aaron Smith, Executive Director of National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), said: “We are grateful to Representatives Gabbard and Young for continuing their support for ending cannabis prohibition by introducing these bills. States should be able to make their own laws without fear of federal interference, and it doesn't make any sense for us to waste resources targeting regulated cannabis businesses in states that have enacted more sensible policies.
Regarding the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019, Eric Goepel, Founder & CEO, Veterans Cannabis Coalition, said: “There have been over 100,000 veteran suicides and overdoses in the last 15 years. Millions of veterans have been prescribed, both in the VA and private health, cocktails of addictive and toxic drugs without evidence or alternatives. In their own words, veterans will tell you how cannabis has provided relief and hope when nothing else worked. If it helps veterans, it can help all Americans. The time is long past due to end this 80 year injustice and dismantle prohibition.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy “supports the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act because removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act is the single most important step Congress can take on the long journey to end the harms caused by federal cannabis prohibition -- a failed policy which has targeted and disproportionately harmed communities of color, low-income communities, and youth.”