February 9th, 2018
A new congress bill was presented on August 1st, 2017 that attempts to place government and cannabis on the same side of the law by ending a decades-long federal ban on marijuana.
The bill was introduced by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. The ‘Marijuana Justice Act of 2017’ looks to end the federal ban on cannabis and dry herb vaporizers, while addressing the impacts this prohibition has had on the government and individuals. Booker made an announcement on Facebook Live, stating that the federal government “should get out of the illegal marijuana business.” He believes law enforcement should be spending their time and resources on more serious matters that truly require their attention.
Booker stated, “You see what’s happening around this country right now. Eights states and the District of Columbia have moved to legalize marijuana. And these states are seeing decreases in violent crime in their states.” He then commented “They’re seeing increases in revenue to their states. They’re seeing their police forces being able to focus on serious crime. They’re seeing positive things come out of that experience.”
In an effort to lift the federal ban on cannabis and dry herb vaporizers, Booker hopes to remove it from the group of U.S. controlled substances, where it is listed as a Schedule 1 drug, alongside heroin and LSD.
John Malanca, co-founder of United Patients Group, thinks the bill’s suggested changes would be a step in the right direction. It’s also considered a step that has taken too long to take. John’s company works with thousands of sick patients across the U.S. who use medical marijuana to treat real conditions.
Malanca also stated that federal cannabis and dry herb vaporizer legalization would give organizations, like universities and medical research groups, the chance to conduct necessary cannabis research without fear of retaliation by their own government.
Over the past few months, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly indicated that he wants the Justice Department to hand out stricter punishments to those who are caught with marijuana and dry herb vaporizers. In April, Sessions mentioned that they would be reviewing the current attitude on marijuana. He was also instructing federal officials to seek only the highest penalties for offenders.
Two months ago, the Senate Appropriations Committee rejected the Attorney Generals request to drop the provision which protected states from federal interference with medical marijuana laws.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, who sponsored the amendment made this comment, “It is more humane to regulate medical marijuana than to criminalize it, I don’t want to be spending money pursuing medical marijuana patients who are following state law … We have more important things to do than tracking down doctors or others, epileptics, who are using medical marijuana legally in their state.”
Quinnipiac University conducted a poll in April, where they found that 94% of Americans support the use of medical marijuana and dry herb vaporizers. And 60% of Americans favor the full legalizations of cannabis.