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STEVE ELLIOTT

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Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), Jared Polis (CO-02), and Don Young (AK-At Large) today at the U.S. Capitol launched the Congressional Cannabis Caucus – the first of its kind.

Blumenauer, Rohrabacher, Polis and Young represent constituents in four of the eight states that have enacted laws regulating cannabis for medical and adult use. Twenty additional states have enacted comprehensive medical cannabis laws, and 16 additional states have enacted limited or unworkable medical cannabis laws. In total, 44 states have adopted laws rolling back cannabis prohibition at the state level, representing 95 percent of the U.S. House of Representatives and 88 percent of the Senate.

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From left, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Rep. Don Young of Alaska, and Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado are founding a new Cannabis Caucus in Congress

The bipartisan Caucus will provide a forum for members of the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss, learn, and work together to establish a better and more rational approach to federal cannabis policy. Co-Chairs Blumenauer, Rohrabacher, Polis, and Young on Thursday sent a letter inviting all members of the U.S. House to join the Caucus.

earl blumenauer
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U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer:
“The prohibition of cannabis has been a failure, and Americans across our nation are demanding a more reasonable approach”

“The prohibition of cannabis has been a failure, and Americans across our nation are demanding a more sensible approach,” said 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.”

“The federal government’s decades-long approach to marijuana is a colossal, cruel joke, and most Americans know it. Not only have incalculable amounts of taxpayers’ dollars been wasted, but countless lives have been unnecessarily disrupted and even ruined by misguided law enforcement. With big-government mobilizations now widely discredited, it is time to return to the basic principles of federalism, in which the national government allows the states to determine, with their voters’ guidance, the right course to pursue. The states need friends in Congress, and the Cannabis Caucus is here to help,” said Rohrabacher.

“The results are in. A majority of Americans live in a state that has some form of legal access to cannabis, and the federal prohibition of marijuana has been a complete and utter failure,” said Polis. “At a time when partisanship is at an all-time high, I’m glad that both Democrats and Republicans can come together and work to reform marijuana laws to align with the voice of the American people. I look forward to getting to work with this Caucus, and to regulate marijuana more like alcohol.”

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U.S. Rep. Jared Polis:
“A majority of Americans live in a state that has some form of legal access to cannabis”
[Mile High Gay Guy]

“In 2014, the people of Alaska voted to legalize marijuana. While I do not personally advocate for the use of marijuana, I strongly believe in my responsibility to represent the people of Alaska’s views in Congress, to speak on their behalf, and try to solve the problems they are facing,” said Young. “Because of the conflicts between Federal and State law, marijuana-related issues are no longer theoretical—they are real, and they are affecting real people in Alaska and across the country. I look forward to working with the Congressional Cannabis Caucus to educate my colleagues in the House on the issues we are facing in Alaska, and hopefully to also develop solutions to these problems.”

Increasingly, federal cannabis laws are out of touch with American voters. Ninety-five percent of Americans now live in states or territories that permit, to varying degrees, legal access to medical marijuana and/or cannabis derivatives, with even more states considering expanded access this year. Additionally, a fifth of all Americans now live in a state with legal access to the adult use of marijuana. It’s time for Congress to catch up, and the Congressional Cannabis Caucus is another step in the right direction.

congressional cannabis caucus congress young blumenauer rohrabacher polis
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From left, U.S. Reps. Polis, Blumenauer, Young, and Rohrabacher at Thursday’s press conference
[Weed News]

The nation’s leading cannabis and drug policy reform organizations on Thursday commended Congressional members on the formation of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

“We commend Representatives Blumenauer, Rohrabacher, Polis, and Young for their leadership on the issue of cannabis policy,” the joint statement reads. “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. It will also facilitate efforts to ease the tension between federal prohibition laws and state laws that regulate cannabis for medical and adult use.

“The formation of this caucus is a testament to how far our country has come on the issue of cannabis policy,” the joint statement reads. “There is a growing consensus that cannabis prohibition has failed, and it is time for a more sensible approach. A strong majority of Americans support making cannabis legal for medical and adult use, and an even stronger majority believes states should be able to establish their own cannabis policies without interference from the federal government. We look forward to working with caucus members to translate this growing public sentiment into sound public policy.”

The joint statement was issued by The National Organization For the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the Drug Policy Alliance, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Americans for Safe Access, Marijuana Policy Project, the National Cannabis Industry Association, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, and Clergy for a New Drug Policy.

 

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