House Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) introduced a bill this week that would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act.
House Resolution 1227, known as the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017,” would basically decriminalize cannabis on a national level. The drug would then be treated by the U.S. government similarly to alcohol and tobacco.
Originally introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders in 2015, this bill “fulfills a responsibility to create a level playing field across the country,” Garret said in a press release. “Statistics indicate that minor narcotics crimes disproportionately hurt areas of lower socio-economic status and what I find most troubling is that we continue to keep laws on the books that we do not enforce. Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California.”
He added, “this step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth, something that will provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia. In the coming weeks, I anticipate introducing legislation aimed at growing the hemp industry in Virginia, something that is long overdue.”
Garrett campaigned last election on a promise to reform federal law on cannabis.
The bill’s co-sponsors are Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO). Polis is a member of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, a bipartisan group that he and three other congressmen formed last month to work on policies that protect the growing cannabis industry.