At the end of the week, two new bills were presented to the US federal parliament to reform the legalization of marijuana, as well as to support research on the therapeutic properties of the plant. Authors and sponsors of both projects are MPs Tulsi Gabbard, a representative of the Democratic Party living in Hawaii, and MP Don Young, a Republican representing Alaska in Congress. The first of the projects submitted by them for a general review, called the Act of Completion of the Criminalization of Cannabis in 2019, proposes that the authorities completely exclude cannabis and related active substances from the banned lists, which will allow each individual state in the country to pass its own, regional laws regarding their regulation.
At the moment, the projects of Gabbard and Yang are also supported by many members of both parties in Congress, as well as representatives of several large public organizations engaged in the lobby of the interests of the cannabis industry and activists, as well as supporters of radical reforms in the country’s justice system. Speaking to Congress during the first presentation of the bills, Ms. Gabbard openly stated that the years of the regime of strict criminalization of cannabis did not bring the country anything but huge financial and human losses.
«The policy of strict criminalization of marijuana, conducted under the auspices of the so-called» warriors with drugs «, has always been based on false myths and misinformation about the properties of the cannabis plant, which only underlines the entire harmfulness of this regime for our society,» said the deputy. “For the sake of maintaining the letter of the criminalization regime, the police, in fact, criminalized ethnic minority communities across the country, creating a real“ arresting conveyor ”that people who have committed minor and non-violent offenses, like smoking or storing cannabis, were detained in federal prisons for extremely long periods of time, with no chance of early release. Even now, in an era of unprecedented progress in regional reforms regarding cannabis status, many people still risk being incarcerated, because that they simply use cannabis for therapeutic or recreational purposes. For example, by the end of 2017, despite all the shifts towards reforms, both at the national and at the regional level, more than 600,000 of our fellow citizens, who are mainly representatives of the African American and Latin American community, were convicted by the federal court for such offenses as storing , use and sale of small amounts of marijuana. The bills presented by us today are a detailed and elaborated reform plan aimed at eliminating this system and conducting programs designed to at least partially restore the consequences of the damage caused to the country and its citizens by strict criminalization. I hope that representatives of both the Democratic and the Republican parties will join in supporting these bills,
Yang, in turn, called on individual states to support federal reform by adopting local laws aimed at the complete legalization of cannabis, or at least to decriminalize its consumption and home cultivation.
«I would describe myself as a staunch supporter of the states’ right to conduct sovereign reforms aimed at changing the status of cannabis and regulating its production and distribution within the framework of the laws,» he said during a speech. “The federal government has long enough and unsuccessfully imposed on the states a position stating that cannabis is a“ dangerous, “guiding” drug ”that is not supported by even the most elementary facts about the properties of this plant. As a deputy, I am well acquainted with the opinions of my fellow citizens, in particular, residents of Alaska, about the legalization of the production, distribution and use of cannabis. I can tell you that, both in Alaska and in other states of the country, including regions that have not yet adopted even medical reforms, people no longer believe tales about the risks of legalization, since reform has long been justified in practice. Perhaps it’s time for Congress to pay attention to the real facts about hemp and stop supporting the dangerous myth of the need to criminalize this plant. ”
Billy, reflecting public opinion about cannabis reforms:
Mason Tvert, who is the head of the public relations department at the Marijuana Policy Project, told reporters a day after the presentation of the new bills that, in general, their content accurately reflects the opinions and wishes of the general public of the country, regarding possible federal legalization.
“Of course, the enthusiasm for radical hemp reforms, which has been observed among American voters for several years, was finally passed on to representatives of Congress, who had recently tried to avoid dialogues about federal legalization,” he said. “It is also pleasant to admit that in addition to the Democratic Party, which formally supported such an undertaking, many members of the Republican Party also joined the support of decisive reforms regarding cannabis status. It is quite possible that with such comprehensive support of the bills, the Congress will be able to actually contribute to the imminent onset of legalization in the United States. ”
Mr. Tvert’s enthusiasm is shared by his fellow activist, Erik Gopel, founder and head of the Armed Forces Veterans Coalition for Legalizing Therapeutic Marijuana, which suggests that such drastic reforms will allow millions of war veterans to finally get the hemp drugs they need.
“Over the past 15 years, more than 100,000 veterans of the US military have committed suicide or died as a result of opioid overdoses, and all just because they do not have access to effective hemp drugs that currently have proven themselves extremely effective means of treating chronic pain and post-traumatic personality disorders, ”
— notes Gopel, also a veteran who uses plant extracts for self-treatment.
“Hemp saves people’s lives where pharmaceuticals, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, have proven to be completely useless or harmful. Of course, I believe that if cannabis can help in the treatment of a disease such as PTR, then most likely it can also be effectively used in the fight against other grave and chronic illnesses of the human psyche and body. It is time for the government to recognize the whole mass of evidence confirming the safety and therapeutic efficacy of cannabis and stop this profanation with criminalization, which has continued to harm our society for almost 80 years. ”
Recall that, in addition to the new bills, at the beginning of last week, Senator Cory Booker, re-submitted to Congress a slightly modified version of the old bill aimed at expanding and protecting regional hemp reforms . Like the criminalization act, Mr. Booker’s bill also calls for the complete elimination of the cannabis plant and its active substances from the banned lists, followed by a general amnesty for people affected to some extent by the criminalization of the plant.