On Jan. 9, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced a bill, H.R. 420, proposing the federal government remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and put the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in charge of regulating the drug.
"While the bill number may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, the issue is very serious," says Blumenauer, who is co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. "Our federal marijuana laws are outdated, out of touch and have negatively impacted countless lives. Congress cannot continue to be out of touch with a movement that a growing majority of Americans support. It's time to end this senseless prohibition."
Taking marijuana off the list of substances governed by the Controlled Substances Act would allow federal dollars to fund research into the health impacts and potential uses of cannabis. Dubbed the "Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act," the bill would also allow cannabis businesses to access traditional banking services that they cannot use under existing federal law.
The federal move to de-criminalize weed would also loosen the reigns on states that have already legalized cannabis. If regulated by the ATF, cannabis could potentially be sold across state lines, which would be a boon for states like Oregon with a surplus of marijuana.