Thomas Garrett, a newly-nominated Republican congressman from Virginia, has introduced a bill aimed to stop federal cannabis prohibition. Though the initiative is identical to a failed legislation of Sen. Bernie Sanders, it has already got three co-signers.
According to the bill, cannabis regulation should be removed from the Controlled Substances Act and left to the states. These measures would allow the settling of the existing contradiction between the federal and state legislation over cannabis use for recreational and medical purposes.
Garrett does not request federal legalization of marijuana, yet his initiative would allow states to establish their own cannabis policy without it being a violation of the federal law.
Although Virginia has not legalized either medical or adult cannabis use yet, Garrett is sure that any American state can keep marijuana use under control.
The bill, however, supports the ban on cannabis transportation to the states where the herb is not legalized.
The federal government still includes marijuana in the Schedule I list as a substance that has a high potential for excessive use and that is not acceptable as a treatment option. However, marijuana laws adopted in more than half of American states allow consuming the drug for either recreational or medical purpose.
Sen. Bernie Sanders submitted an identical initiative in 2015, but that legislation did not get any co-sponsors and was not presented to the Senate. In contrast, the bill introduced by the Virginia representative has already been supported by other Republicans, such as Tulsi Gabbard, Jared Polis, and Scott W. Taylor.
Garrett thinks that his bill can bring many benefits to the states, as they would be allowed to create cannabis jobs, regulate medicinal use, and boost their economies by growing industrial hemp. All these things are also important to Virginia, according to the politician.
Let us remind you that the Drug Enforcement Administration reviewed the federal classification of cannabis and rejected any changes to pot restrictions last year.
There has been an increasing interest to cannabis from Congress during the recent years. Moreover, one of the weed laws passed by Congress prevented the Department of Justice from intruding into the pot legislation adopted by states.
Meanwhile, the White House is still skeptical on the issue of lifting cannabis prohibition on the federal level. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is well-known as a fierce marijuana opponent, and Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, also stated that the Trump administration was going to enforce federal marijuana laws.
However, Garrett answered their skepticism during the bill introduction. He claimed that the federal government promised to reduce federal cannabis crimes by changing the laws, and his initiative offered a way to do it.