Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Federal Lawmakers Seek To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

A group of federal lawmakers marched up to the steps of Capitol Hill earlier this week asking the Congressional majority to support a couple of bills aimed at establishing a nationwide marijuana market that would regulate marijuana like alcohol.

Representative Jared Polis of Colorado introduced the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act,” a bill that would remove the cannabis plant from the confines of the federal law and allow weed to be cultivated and sold all across the country in a manner similar to booze. The measure is a reintroduction, of sorts, from 2015 proposal seeking to accomplish this objective. However, the updated version comes with some tweaks and additions pertaining to how pot products could be advertised.

“I’m more hopeful than ever before that we can move legislation like the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act,” Polis said in an interview last month.

A separate but similar measure known as the “Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act” was also introduced this week by Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon that would eliminate marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and allow the herb to be handled in the same way the federal government does with alcohol and tobacco. The proposal is designed to make marijuana a nationally regulated industry controlled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“This is commonsense legislation that will eliminate the growing tension between federal and state marijuana laws,” Robert Capecchi, the federal policy guru for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “States are adopting laws designed to improve public safety by replacing the illegal marijuana market with a tightly regulated system of production and sales. The federal government should be working to facilitate that transition, not hinder it.”

As it stands, over half the nation has legalized marijuana in some form or fashion, yet the brass under Uncle Sam’s thumb has all but refused to give any consideration to federal reform. Some of the latest national polls show the majority of Americans – consistently around 60 percent — believe that cannabis should be treated no differently than alcohol and tobacco. What’s more is a stiff majority (71 percent) believes marijuana policy should be left up to the states and not the federal government, according to the latest Quinnipiac Poll.

Nevertheless, none of the marijuana-related legislation introduced this week is expected to get a fair shot in the Republican-dominated Congress – it would be a miracle if any of these bills even received a hearing.

Although it has been said that once public opinion polls steadily reside in the 60-65 percent mark, Congress will have no choice but to address the issue, most federal lawmakers still have no interest in giving the concept of marijuana legalization the time of day.

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