Now that marijuana is legal in some form or another — whether for recreational or medicinal use — in 28 states, a bipartisan group of four lawmakers have joined forces to create the first Congressional Cannabis Caucus, aimed at reconciling federal regulations banning marijuana with states’ laws.
In a Thursday press conference, Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (CA), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Don Young (AK), and Jared Polis (CO) announced the new caucus, the first of its kind (as if anyone had any doubts about that).
The goal of the group will be to “discuss, learn and work together to establish a better and more rational approach to federal cannabis policy.”
“The prohibition of cannabis has been a failure, and Americans across our nation are demanding a more sensible approach,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Following the November election, federal laws are now out of step with 44 states. The time is now to come together and bring the federal government in line with the will of the American people.”
Rep. Rohrbacher says if the major changes they’re looking for happen, including a shift on how the country views cannabis use, “many people are going to live better lives, it’s going to be better for our country, better for people, and it makes economic sense at a time when every penny must count for government.”
Unsurprisingly, marijuana advocacy groups are pleased about the Cannabis Caucus. In a joint statement, the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Cannabis Industry Association, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and others commended the lawmakers for leading the charge on cannabis policy, and said they look forward to working with the caucus members.
“The establishment of a Cannabis Caucus will allow members from both parties, who represent diverse constituencies from around the country, to join together for the purpose of advancing sensible cannabis policy reform,” the statement reads.
“The formation of this caucus is a testament to how far our country has come on the issue of cannabis policy,” the groups add. “There is a growing consensus that cannabis prohibition has failed, and it is time for a more sensible approach.”