For decades, marijuana legislation has been a source of consistent stress for stoners across the United States. Many states have loosened pot restrictions in recent years, but weed is still considered a controlled substance by the U.S. government, a discrepancy that has created a judicial grey area with respect to enforcement. Though the Obama administration made marijuana enforcement a lower priority, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has already expressed his intent to crack down on weed-related offenses with greater rigor.
However, a bipartisan bill currently making its way through Congress could restrict the government’s ability to punish pot smokers. The bill, which is being referred to as the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017,” would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act, putting its enforcement in the hands of the states. The act was originally introduced in 2015 by Bernie Sanders, but Virginia’s Republican representative Tom Garrett joined Sanders’ cause by re-introducing the legislation in late February. The move has since received further support from a handful of other legislators.
In a press release, Garrett explained why he felt compelled to re-introduce the act, citing uneven enforcement, as well as the need for greater autonomy among states: “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.”
Garrett isn’t unaware of the financial benefits, either. In his statement, he said, the act would “provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia,” and also noted that he intends to introduce further legislation that could kickstart Virginia’s nascent marijuana economy. With weed now legally available in Washington, Maine, Nevada, and other states, the bill likely comes as a relief to employers and workers across the country. In 2016, Fortune reported that legal pot is already a multi-billion dollar industry, and it’s only growing.
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: This Bill Would Eliminate The Federal Ban On Marijuana
Author: Gus Turner
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Website: Men’s Health