Sign the Petition for States’ Rights on Marijuana Policy

Could Republicans, by applying their states' rights principles to marijuana, steal the issue of legalization?

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Only six states still maintain zero tolerance policies for marijuana similar to the federal government.

A new petition at Change.org calls on the chairmen of two US House committees to hold hearings on the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.

The Act, officially H.R. 1227, would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, leaving the states free to set marijuana policies as they choose.

Over seven-in-ten Americans polled in February by Quinnipiac University agreed that marijuana is a states’ rights issue. That includes 55 percent of Republicans, like Virginia Congressman Thomas Garrett, the Republican who has introduced the Act.

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Republicans, not only does 55% of your party oppose federal interference with state marijuana laws, by passing H.R. 1227, you might steal the issue from Democrats and perhaps bring into the Republican Party the young and minorities targeted by prohibition…

But getting the Act passed will be a tough battle in Congress. Currently the Act sits before two committees: Energy & Commerce, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), and Judiciary, chaired by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). Both congressmen are strong opponents of marijuana legalization.

This petition at Change.org calls on Congress to pass H.R. 1227, specifically by calling on Reps. Walden and Goodlatte to hold hearings to discuss the bill in their committees. Sen. Bernie Sanders championed this legislation in the previous Congress, only to have it die in committee without a hearing.

Now that an independent Democratic-Socialist presidential candidate has passed the baton to a Virginia Republican, the Republican-controlled Congress has no excuse to stonewall the progress of this bill that has broad bipartisan support. The Quinnipiac Poll shows the legislation is popular with the people.

The existence of 44 of 50 US states with marijuana laws running counter to the federal Controlled Substances Act is, as President Obama told Rolling Stone, “a patchwork of laws” that is “untenable over the long term.” As President Trump told KUSA in Colorado, “I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.”

With many contentious issues to be heard in the Congress this term, from immigration reform to health care improvement, passing H.R. 1227 would take the issue of marijuana off the table, not just for the states that are allowing marijuana use by their citizens, but for the Congress in not having to deal with the banking, taxation, research, and other issues that will be cleared up once marijuana is not federally prohibited.

The Republican House, by passing H.R. 1227, wouldn’t just clear their agenda of any politically risky debates over publicly popular marijuana issues. They perhaps would attract more libertarian-minded millennials and disproportionately-policed minorities, thankful that one of the political parties finally struck a serious blow to begin ending the War on Drugs. They might neuter marijuana policy as an issue with any partisan effect.

Sign the petition and help us build the groundswell of support to show Reps. Goodlatte and Walden they have nothing to fear and everything to gain by adhering to their party’s principles on states’ rights when it comes to marijuana policy.

Russ Belville
About Russ Belville 199 Articles
Russ Belville - or "Radical" Russ, as he is known on-air - hosts The Marijuana Agenda, a live news and talk radio program for the cannabis community, weekdays at 3pm Pacific on MJAgenda.com.  The show is based in Portland, Oregon, but "Radical" Russ has traveled over 300,000 air miles in the past five years, bringing his show to report live from hundreds of cannabis conferences, marijuana expos, hemp festivals, and legalization events in over 70 North American cities.