by Justin Strekal, NORML Political DirectorJanuary 13, 2020

This Wednesday, January 15th, at 10 am EST, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a legislative hearing entitled “Cannabis Policies for the New Decade.” This marks the first time that members of the Energy and Commerce Committee will hear and debate issues specific to marijuana policy reform. 

Now more than ever, congressional action is required to end the failed criminalization of marijuana and amend federal law to ensure that state-legal cannabis programs can operate as intended.

The legislative hearing notice states that six bills will be discussed, including HR 3884, the MORE Act, which recently was approved in the House Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan vote of 24-10 and waived by the House Small Business Committee. 

Witnesses will be: 

Matthew J. Strait, Senior Policy Advisor, Diversion Control Division, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Douglas Throckmorton, M.D., Deputy Director for Regulatory Programs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse National Institutes of Health (NIDA)

To date, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana programs and 11 states and the District have legalized the responsible use of marijuana by adults 21 and over. 

It is our hope that lawmakers take an honest assessment of the federal policy changes necessary to create an appropriate federal framework for these state-wide legalization laws to flourish. In order to best maintain the market controls that a majority of states have enacted to promote public health, prevent the distribution of marijuana to minors, ensure safe business practices, and improve public safety, cannabis must be descheduled, not rescheduled, from the Controlled Substances Act. This move allows states the authority to the primary regulators of state-level cannabis policies without having to look over their shoulder in fear of the threat of federal intervention.

It is time for the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee to take action to advance The MORE Act, which removes the cannabis plant from the federal Controlled Substances Act and makes other substantive changes. For example, it permits physicians affiliated with the Veterans Administration to make medical marijuana recommendations to qualifying veterans who reside in legal states and it incentivizes states to move ahead with expungement policies that will end the stigma and lost opportunities suffered by those with past, low-level cannabis convictions. If approved, the MORE Act also allows the Small Business Administration to support entrepreneurs and businesses as they seek to gain a foothold in this emerging industry.

You can contact your lawmakers in support of the MORE Act in less than 30 seconds by clicking here. 

More information on the hearing can be found at the subcommittee’s website here

Read additional information about the MORE Act here

Please contact your lawmakers in support of the MORE Act with NORMLs Action Center or by calling the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121.