What is the Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act?


Bethan Jenkins

March 22nd, 2019

Policy


The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019 was filed by Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Created to catapult cannabis into the mainstream market, the bill boasts a total of 39 co-sponsors, the names of whom you can view here.

In addition to normalizing cannabis consumption and regulating it in the same way as tobacco and alcohol, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019 eliminates marijuana and the plant’s psychoactive constituent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) from Schedule 1.

Amending the Controlled Substances Act in such a way means that cannabis consumers do not run the risk of being faced with civil or criminal penalties. Not only this, but the bill abolishes criminal penalties for anyone caught exporting, importing, manufacturing, distributing and/or possessing marijuana with intent to supply.

“Our archaic marijuana policies — based on stigma and outdated myths — have been used to wage a failed War on Drugs. Families have been torn apart, communities left fractured, and over-criminalization and mass incarceration have become the norm,” Gabbard said during a press conference. “In 2017 alone, our country arrested 600,000 people just for possession of marijuana. Our bipartisan legislation takes a step toward ending the failed war on drugs, ending the federal prohibition on marijuana, and ensuring that our policies are guided by facts and the truth.”

Something that should be noted is that the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019 criminalizes cannabis shipments and transports to states that have not yet legalized pot sales and possession. Anyone who violates the law will be faced with a maximum of one year behind bars, a fine, or both. Regardless, the Act would finally legalize the green leafy plant nationwide.

The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019 Would Deschedule the Plant

Consumer and patient access to cannabis is simplified thanks to the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019. This law will effectively act as a catalyst for research and innovation, whilst removing the barricade that previously hindered criminal justice reform, cannabis research, and innovation.

“For too long, the federal government has stood in the way of states that have acted to set their own marijuana policy, and it is long past time Congress modernized these outdated laws,” Congressman Don Young told reporters. He went on to say how proud he was to introduce two pieces of bipartisan legislation with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “I look forward to working with Congresswoman Gabbard and my friends on both sides of the aisle to see these initiatives become law.”

“The Ending Federal Prohibition Act is about acknowledging political, scientific, and economic reality. Marijuana legalization is here to stay and it is time that federal policy reflect that.” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. “This legislation is effective in its simplicity, it will deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and end federal prohibition once and for all, full stop.”

What’s more, cannabis could provide relief and hope for individuals who endure a medical ailment/condition caused by their jobs, such as veterans and football players. Descheduling cannabis under the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019 means that there is less demand for opioid prescriptions, what with cannabis being a safer and non-addictive alternative.

More than 100,000 veterans have lost their lives as a result of opioid overdose or suicide within the last 15 years, according to the Founder & CEO of Veterans Cannabis Coalition, Eric Goepel. Millions of servicemen have been prescribed addictive and often dangerous painkillers to ease problems like pain, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, insomnia, nightmares and depression.

“If it helps veterans, it can help all Americans, said Goepel, adding that, “the time is long past due to end this 80 year injustice and dismantle prohibition.”

What Is the Marijuana Data Collection Act?

Aside from the Ending Federal Prohibition Act, both lawmakers introduced a separate bill titled the Marijuana Data Collection Act. This law would “allow us the opportunity to make sure we are governed by the truth and facts and not misinformation and lies,” Gabbard said.

Statewide legalization issues would be overseen under this measure, which would intensely analyze the aftermath of state legalized medicinal and non-medicinal cannabis programs from different perspectives. Examples of the issues that would be studied include public health, criminal justice, state revenues, employment, opioid use, and substance abuse.

The End of Federal Cannabis Prohibition

Since the Democratic-House flip that occurred late last year, there has been plenty of hype surrounding the topic of federal cannabis prohibition, with many activists hopeful that cannabis reform might occur in 2019. Now that the U.S. House of Representatives is dominated by Democrats, measures for reform should gain the required votes to pass.

While the House is on-board with the Ending Federal Prohibition Act and the Marijuana Data Collection Act, the Senate is not exactly supportive of the bills. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could be the biggest roadblock, since the anti-pot politician is disapproving of nationwide legalization.

On the other hand, an increasing number of U.S. residents are warming up to the idea of legal weed. Just last year, national polling data accumulated by the Center for American Progress revealed how 68 percent of registered voters “support the legalization of marijuana.” This data indicates the highest level of support for cannabis legalization ever to be reported in a scientific nationwide poll.

Although the data is promising, it doesn’t mean that 2019 will be the year that the federal government gets on-board with cannabis reform. Not if McConnell has anything to do with it, anyway. At the beginning of March, McConnell halted a measure that would expand voting rights simply because, in his own words, “I get to decide what we vote on.”

Bethan Jenkins

About Bethan Jenkins

Bethan is a full-time wanderluster, traveler, and digital nomad with 7 years of experience in the freelance writing world. She has mastered the art of beating jet lag and using hammocks as an office for content curation.


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