A new bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, would not only remove the drug from the Schedule I designation list but also would outline regulations similar to alcohol. That bill, however, has a humorous claim to fame, since the bill is — coincidentally enough — numbered 420.
The 420 numeric is one that marijuana users have adopted to signify their enjoyment of smoking marijuana, with April 20 (4/20) as the informally designated day to partake and 4:20 p.m. as a special time to smoke it.
HR 420 is the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act and was authored by Blumenauer, the co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus and — obviously— someone with strong connections to the marijuana user community.
The Congressional Cannabis Caucus was created by Blumenauer in an effort to push for the end of “senseless prohibition of marijuana” — his own words. Blumenauer also hopes to see more research into effective uses of marijuana and better access to the drug for veterans who can benefit from its use for PTSD and pain management.
The bill stipulates that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, more commonly known as the ATF, would also oversee marijuana regulations. More importantly, it would remove the Schedule I designation, which is currently the biggest issue for marijuana businesses who attempt to open bank accounts with financial institutions that follow federal stipulations and also with those who want to transport marijuana across state lines, which is a federal violation.
Blumenauer has stated he feels current federal prohibitions of marijuana are outdated and have unfairly impacted U.S. residents. However, he has strong opposition in office that may strongly disagree. Among those are Republican Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who has not signed any significant marijuana legislation in the last 17 years as a legislator.
However, Pelosi has co-sponsored marijuana bills in previous decades, namely the 1990s and 2000s. Her focus was on protection from federal interference with those moves to co-sponsor, indicating there may be hope for federal marijuana legalization yet.
Numerous attempts have been made to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act in previous legislative sessions, including the Marijuana Justice Act and the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, both sponsored last year and both stalled in committee.