The same week that the White House likened legalized recreational marijuana to the opioid epidemic, and let it be known that the Justice Department will likely begin cracking down on non-medical pot, a Republican Congressman from Virginia introduced a law that, if passed, would put an end to the federal criminalization of marijuana.
The Ending Federal Prohibition Of Marijuana Act [PDF] was introduced late last week by Rep. Tom Garrett, along with bipartisan support from Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, and his fellow Virginia Republican Rep. Scott Taylor. Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado, has also signed on as a cosponsor.
The bill — a version of which was first introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) in 2015 — would amend the Controlled Substances Act to leave it up to each state to decide if marijuana — recreational or medical — is illegal there.
About half of the states now have, or are in the process of legalizing, medical pot. Voters in a growing number of states have recently chosen to legalize recreational marijuana. The bill would not allow for transport of pot between states if one of those states outlaws the drug.
“Statistics indicate that minor narcotics crimes disproportionately hurt areas of lower socio-economic status and what I find most troubling is that we continue to keep laws on the books that we do not enforce,” said Garrett in a statement. “Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California.”