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Congressman Earl Blumenauer: Rethinking Federal Marijuana Policy

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Earl Blumenauer marijuanaCongressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) has long been a sane public voice on the need to end cannabis prohibition.  Despite not using cannabis himself, Rep. Blumenauer has been in the trenches fighting for the cannabis community for over 40 years as he was a state representative helping Oregon become the first state to decriminalize personal amounts in 1973.  Fast forward 4 decades, and much of our progress at the national level has been partly due because of Blumenauer’s tireless work at the federal level.  His pragmatic approach has helped lead us to advances such as the “Eight Points of Light”  memo from the Obama Administration, setting federal guidelines for states to implement regulated cannabis commerce, and now comments from Attorney General Eric Holder stating the need for federal banking reforms.

Rep. Blumenauer will be speaking about the need for more marijuana law reforms at the federal level on January 31st, at the City Club in beautiful downtown Portland, Oregon.

There is a revolution underway in the treatment of marijuana across the United States. In 1973, Oregon decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, a policy that has now been embraced by 14 other states. In 1996, California authorized the use of medical marijuana, and since then, 20 additional states and the District of Columbia have followed suit. Despite the fact that federal statutes list marijuana as a Schedule I substance with no therapeutic values, approximately one million Americans use medical marijuana. Washington and Colorado voters have also approved adult recreational use. While these states establish policies and mechanisms to implement those laws, a number of other states including Oregon are poised to follow this path in the next few years.

As a leader on marijuana reform in Washington DC, Congressman Blumenauer will lay out his vision of why and how the federal government needs to change federal drug laws and allow states, as the laboratories of democracy, to continue the evolution and refinement of marijuana policies.

Now that marijuana legalization is more and more a mainstream political issue, a growing number of elected officials are now speaking out about the need to reform our drug laws.  Not just the usual liberal suspects, but even Republicans such as Chris Christie and Rick Perry are joining the ever-growing chorus of people willing to publicly announce that the status quo is a failed policy and our drug laws need major reform.  When conservative anti-tax icon Grover Norquist joined Blumenauer at a press conference advocating for a change in federal tax code to accommodate legitimate cannabis businesses, I know that I was not alone among political observers who felt that the universe could implode when two public voices, usually on complete opposite ends of the political spectrum, joined forces.  Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis (D-Colorado) co-authored a report ”The Path Forward: Rethinking Federal Marijuana Policy,”  laying out where the federal government is currently and some of the steps that need to be taken:

 The document reviews the history of marijuana prohibition in the US, current conflicts between state and federal law, and outlines several opportunities to reform and clarify marijuana law at the federal level. Congressman Blumenauer has also posted a FAQ on marijuana and marijuana legislation.

Today over 2 million people are incarcerated in the United States, more than any other country in the world, and 50% of all federal inmates are there for drug-related crimes.  This is part of the reason our spending on corrections has increased at a much higher rate than our spending on higher education over the last 20 years.

Millions of people have been caught up in the justice system for marijuana offenses, and over 660,000 are arrested each year for possession.  Too often people are serving time in jail for using a drug that nearly half the nation’s population feels should be legal for recreational purposes and 70 percent feel should be legal for medicinal purposes.

Blumenauer’s City Club presentation will be held at the Governor Hotel, 614 SW 11th Ave on January 31st from 12:15m to 1:15pm. Luncheon tickets, for City Club members, are $23 each and $30 for nonmembers. There are also coffee/tea table tickets available as well as general seating.  To reserve a lunch via telephone, individuals (members and nonmembers) should call the Portland City Club’s voicemail reservation line, 503-228-7231, ext. 110. Tickets for coffee/tea table and general seating are on a first-come, first-served basis at the door.  Check out the City Club’s website for additional details and information.

If you are around the Portland, Oregon, area I encourage you to attend and urge you to support Congressman Blumenauer’s efforts at the federal level.  While we often (justifiably so) complain about Congress, it is good to know that great people like Earl Blumenauer, and Jared Polis, are in Washington fighting for us.

Source: National Cannabis Coalitionmake a donation

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About Author

Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the PAC responsible for Measure 91, that ended cannabis prohibition for all Oregon adults in 2014. In addition to helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference & the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Cannabis Coalition, working to legalize cannabis across the country and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization specifically working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.

5 Comments

  1. I sure hope you can hold out a little longer. It would be sad if you were arrested for any violence when the fight is almost over, and you will be free to do as you want. I am old enough to remember when the Berlin Wall came down. It was like this “War on Drugs” prohibition “wall”, and this wall is very close to falling too. Please hold out just a bit longer. It’s coming soon now.

  2. getting pissed on

    Im surprised there hasn’t been a shooting related to the marijuana movement. Im not saying stoners are violent but they are smart enough to know they can fight back and not be screwed and lied to by the government “officials”, aka, human beings that bleed too.
    I plan on joining a marijuana riot (if there is one in my city) and I will destroy stuff in town on purpose just to let some stress off my chest after being around lame drug dealers and hiding from the police and family and friends just to smoke a innocent little bowl of weed. after 8 years of that im tired and im ready for it to be legal.
    I have no record, smoke weed, feel unwelcome. bad thoughts are stirring.
    the sooner its legal the sooner I stop thinking about fighting back!
    fuck civil rights, THIS IS A ALMIGHTY GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO SMOKE WEED.
    I wish it was legal to step inside the UFC octagon and literally fight one of these politicians that make bad choices for me. I want to fight these people so so bad.
    and no its not a threat. I will never hurt a single person. but if I get a contract, legal paperwork, for the UFC and get a chance to fight a DEA agents and anti marijuana politician for three 5 minute rounds, that would be a blessing.

  3. I don’t show support for any government official as they are ALL two faced…. But at least this guy is trying to make things better in this way.

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