WASHINGTON – A bill reintroduced Thursday by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis would take marijuana off the federal list of controlled substances and make the government regulate it like alcohol.
The bill is one of three introduced in a package by the bipartisan Cannabis Caucus in the House of Representatives, and another attempt by Polis to pass such legislation. He introduced a similar bill in 2015.
Polis’s bill would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, move federal jurisdiction over marijuana oversight from the DEA to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and puts in place regulations over marijuana similar to those in place for alcohol – including its advertising standards.
The bill is called the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.”
“Colorado has proven that allowing responsible adults to legally purchase marijuana, gives money to classrooms, not cartels; creates jobs, not addicts; and boosts our economy, not our prison population,” Polis said in a statement.
“Now, more than ever, it is time we end the federal prohibition on marijuana and remove barriers for states’ that have chosen to legalize marijuana. This budding industry can’t afford to be stifled by the Trump administration and its mixed-messages about marijuana. The cannabis industry, states’, and citizens deserve leadership when it comes to marijuana.”
Polis’s bill is part of a package introduced by fellow Cannabis Caucus members Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, both Oregon Democrats, called the “Path to Marijuana Reform.”
The package, in addition to Polis’s proposals, would change tax rules relating to marijuana and loosen current restrictions on marijuana-related research and economics, according to VICE News, which first wrote about the new package.
Among the provisions: The Department of Veterans Affairs could “provide recommendations and opinions” for treatment using medical marijuana and allow scientists to study the plant more openly.
The two Oregon Congressmen say the package will help boost the economy and navigate the divide between state and federal law regarding marijuana that has been heavily-scrutinized under new Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has hinted at a “crackdown” on legal marijuana.
But the package of bills face an uphill climb in Congress and would have to be signed by President Donald Trump.