The federal decriminalization of marijuana in the United States.
According to analysts and pot stock insiders, it’s an inevitability. Theoretical for the time being, but an unavoidable truth as Americans grow increasingly cannabis-friendly.
And as of this morning, legalized pot from “sea to shining sea” has taken one more step towards becoming a reality after U.S. lawmakers met to discuss marijuana law reform.
Advocates of the movement called today’s hearing “historic”, as it could potentially mark the first breakthrough in a large scale federal pot de-escalation, resulting in the removal of cannabis from the DEA’s schedule I drug classification.
Which, by the way, contains the likes of LSD, ecstasy, and even heroin. You know, a drug that actually kills people.
“Marijuana decriminalization may be one of the very few issues upon which bipartisan agreement can still be reached in this session,” said Representative Tom McClintock (R-California).
“It ought to be crystal clear to everyone that our laws have not accomplished their goals.”
Thus far, eleven states have legalized recreational marijuana use, buoyed by the support of the American people.
Most of whom support decriminalization.
And with marijuana reform bills piling up at Capitol Hill, politicians are starting to push the issue. In part because they sense the rising tide, but also in hopes of currying favor with their pot-friendly constituents.
So, this morning, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security held a hearing on federal marijuana laws. They even gave the hearing a title (something the House subcommittees like to do), calling it “Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform.”
“Racial Justice” in this case being the equitable application of marijuana law enforcement, regardless of race or social standing – an issue that some would argue extends beyond drug laws.
But it’s a good start according to at least one member of the subcommittee.
“There is a growing consensus in this country that current marijuana laws are not appropriate and we must consider reform,” remarked Representative Karen Bass (D-California).
“Today’s hearing is a first step in that process.”
In particular, the House subcommittee looked at the STATES Act, the most popular cannabis bill of the bunch. Instead of achieving full decriminalization in one fell-swoop, it would prevent federal laws from interfering in states where pot is already legal.
In layman’s terms, the STATES Act would give state marijuana laws precedence over federal laws, enabling businesses to operate without fear of federal regulation.
Or worse, criminal charges. It’s an easy “cure all” bill that wouldn’t require major changes to current legislation.
But critics of the STATES Act say that it doesn’t go far enough, specifically in regard to racial and social issues.
“We need to reinvest in those individuals and those communities that have been disproportionately impacted [by marijuana prohibition],” argued Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, in a statement to the subcommittee.
“The STATES Act does not do that, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m opposed to it.”
“Reinvesting” in this case would involve the diversion of taxes on recreational pot sales to poverty-stricken areas (A.K.A., reparations), where Mosby thinks archaic drug laws have taken their largest toll.
It’s not an entirely unpopular opinion, either. Malik Burnett, COO of cannabis operator Tribe Companies, doesn’t like the idea that “white people” stand to make the most money off of federal decriminalization while minority communities get nothing for decades of violating soon-to-be-overturned laws.
It’s a problem that needs fixing, according to Burnett and Mosby, and one that will undoubtedly gain support from left-leaning politicians.
Not because it’s another source of income redistribution or social welfare, but because free “legal pot money” will almost certainly attract scores of undecided voters.
All while the evil, job-creating cannabis corporations are raking in the dough – creating capital and pushing the economy forward. The nerve!
Today’s meeting should’ve been a landmark affair for pot stocks trying to penetrate the American market. Instead, it was a sobering reminder of the hurdles that stand in the way of full decriminalization.
Industry leader Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) shares actually dropped after the hearing took place, as investors realized that political parasites are beginning to attach themselves to marijuana law reform.
The STATES Act, a “no-brainer” bill with bipartisan support, is having the life sucked out of it by Burnett, Mosby, and other like-minded individuals. For each step forward, it seems the American political system is intent on taking one (or two) steps back.
Until the “look at me” politicians are satisfied, the federal decriminalization of marijuana will remain a pipe dream in the United States. Because sadly, they don’t care about what’s good for the economy.
They only care about grabbing more votes come re-election, whatever the costs.