House Advances Bill to Remove Marijuana from Controlled Substances Act

November 21, 2019by Michael McAuliff
A marijuana plant at an illegal Marijuana cultivation site in the Sierra National Forest on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019 in Whiskey Falls, Calif. On Monday, a pair of New Jersey legislators introduced a bill that will have the Legislature vote to allow the recreational marijuana issue to be determined at the ballot box. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times/TNS)

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee took the first step Wednesday to legalizing marijuana in the U.S., advancing a bill to remove pot from the Controlled Substances Act and create a tax to fund programs to heal damage from the war on drugs.

“For far too long, we have treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of a matter of personal choice and public health,” said committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. “Whatever one’s views on the use of marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes, arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating users at the federal level is unwise and unjust.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., argued that Americans are far ahead of Congress in attitudes about marijuana.

“We are not rushing; we are being dragged forward by our constituents,” said Gaetz, who backed the bill but warned that some of its attempts to redress damage from the war on drugs might go too far for conservatives.

In addition to removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and leaving it to states to regulate, the bill creates a 5% tax that would be used to fund restorative programs and help people most targeted by the war on drugs start new legal weed businesses.

Some Republicans who favor legalization sought to substitute a bill called the States Act that lacks the social programs but has bipartisan support in the Senate, including from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

“Why don’t we start with one that already has bipartisan support in both and make it better? Then we can come back to the social justice issues,” said Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the committee. “If Doug Collins and Elizabeth Warren can be on the same bill, something might be moving, OK? This is something we need to think about here.”

Democrats, though, insisted measures to heal harm were vital.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., argued that the incarcerated population in America jumped from 350,000 at the start of the war on drugs to 2.2 million now, disproportionately jailing black and Latino people.

He pointed to New York, saying the city “became the marijuana arrest capital of the world,” with 80% of the people busted on minor possession raps being black or Latino.

“It can’t be socially acceptable behavior in some communities that tend to be more affluent, regardless of race, and criminal in other communities that tend to be predominately black and Latino, all across the country and in New York City,” Jeffries said.

“It’s very important for the federal government to send a different message as it relates to marijuana,” he said.

While the bill’s fate in the Senate may be uncertain, a companion measure sponsored by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has been introduced there. Among its backers are Harris’ 2020 rivals, Warren and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

———

©2019 New York Daily News

Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

In The News

Health

Voting

Congress

Select Committee to Investigate Capitol Hill Riot
Congress
Select Committee to Investigate Capitol Hill Riot
June 24, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she is appointing a new select committee to investigate “the many questions” that still surround events leading up to the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol and the federal response that day. In May, Senate Republicans filibustered legislation... Read More

National Guard Seeks $521 Million Reimbursement for Jan. 6 Response
Military
National Guard Seeks $521 Million Reimbursement for Jan. 6 Response
June 24, 2021
by Dan McCue

The National Guard is asking Congress to reimburse $521 million it says it spent in responding to the Jan. 6 siege on Capitol Hill and the extended protection it provided in the months that followed. Gen. Daniel Hohanson said during a Pentagon press conference on Wednesday... Read More

Blue Dogs Call for Increased Defense Funding, Prioritizing of National Defense
Congress
Blue Dogs Call for Increased Defense Funding, Prioritizing of National Defense
June 24, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats is calling on its congressional colleagues to approve the Biden administration’s $753 billion defense spending request for Fiscal Year 2022, saying the proposed $12.3 billion increase over last year will better enable the U.S. to counter the... Read More

New Dems Endorse Slate of Bills to Combat Climate Change
Climate
New Dems Endorse Slate of Bills to Combat Climate Change
June 23, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The New Democrat Coalition on Wednesday  endorsed its first slate of bills in the 117th Congress to confront the existential threat of climate change, building on the Coalition’s work to advance an ambitious and actionable policy agenda to attain net-zero emissions by 2050.  As... Read More

From Biden to Congress, Big Tech is Under Mounting Pressure
Antitrust
From Biden to Congress, Big Tech is Under Mounting Pressure

WASHINGTON (AP) — Without speaking a word or scratching a pen across paper, President Joe Biden drove up the pressure on Big Tech companies already smarting under federal and congressional investigations, epic antitrust lawsuits and near-constant condemnation from politicians of both parties. Biden last week elevated... Read More

DOD Advised to Provide Congress With More Info On PFAS Costs
Defense
DOD Advised to Provide Congress With More Info On PFAS Costs
June 22, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Despite being in the early phases of an investigation into PFAS contamination at nearly 700 U.S. military installations, the Department of Defense says the future environment clean-up of these facilities will cost at least $2.1 billion and likely much more. That number has not... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top