U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) released a memo on behalf of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus that they co-chair. The memo lists the numerous pieces of marijuana legislation filed on Capitol Hill and explains which should be among the reform priorities for 2022, reported Marijuana Moment.
Blumenauer said “the table is set and the time is right for comprehensive cannabis reform, which will make a huge difference for people around the country. We’ve watched this issue gain more momentum than ever with the American people—almost 70 percent of whom, including a majority of Republicans, want to see federal reform.”
Although legislation to protect banks that service state-legal cannabis businesses passed the House for the fifth time in 2021, and a bipartisan measure was introduced to incentivize the expungement of prior marijuana records, none of those bills have been enacted.
Priorities for 2022
Federal descheduling of marijuana remains the first priority. “We are getting closer to passing the MORE Act, which would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act,” the lawmakers wrote. The memo also states that it is “imperative that the Biden administration utilize power available to the executive to pardon and commute sentences for individuals with cannabis-related offenses.”
In addition, the memo highlights the possibility to “dramatically increase the scope and quality of our cannabis research,” to inform federal regulations, and “help us understand the full breadth of cannabis’ therapeutic benefits, especially for our veterans and those living with chronic conditions, like epilepsy.”
Finally, the document stressed that non-interference by the Justice Department — at least until marijuana banking reform passes the Senate — is vital.
“It’s important that the federal government not waste resources with any state-legal interference. That means redirecting the Department of Justice must not interfere with state-legal businesses before we secure the SAFE Banking Act through the U.S. Senate,” concluded the memo.