Home Legislative An Update on Federal Marijuana Law Reform

An Update on Federal Marijuana Law Reform


We are now about 8 months into the new era of Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, and when it comes to cannabis law reform, there have been some hits and some misses, which is pretty much par for the course for most progressions in federal policy.

The good news is that progress is being made, so we have the luxury of debating on just how satisfied we are with the amount of progress. It’s easy to forget that just last year a single man had the power to make sure a marijuana bill never saw the light of day; now we’ve had multiple bills introduced, congressional hearings, a banking bill being passed out of committee and the real possibility of a comprehensive cannabis law reform plan coming up for a vote in the House in the near future.

Some will say the pace of progress has been too slow; those people have a point, but beyond that, their voices are necessary. There has to be a continuous push – and the “go faster” crowd is the engine that drives that push.

The good news is that the House will be under Democratic control at least until the end of next year, since terms in the House turn over in two-year cycles. That means there is still plenty of time to get bills to the floor and get them passed.

To be sure, next year will be the biggest political circus ever witnessed as the Dems pick someone to go head-to-head with Trump, but that could be a good thing. Very often, the best time to get things done is when most people are looking elsewhere.

Don Murphy, the Director for Federal Policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, told The Marijuana Times that progress so far was about what he expected. “We have had historic hearings, historic votes and historic victories in the past 8 months. We have much to celebrate but still much to do. We will make more history and have more to celebrate before the congressional term ends in 2020.”

Federal law reform in this new era is a mixed bag, but there’s still plenty of time to fill up that bag. No one should be satisfied until marijuana prohibition has ended at the federal level. While that is unlikely before 2021, there are still a lot of steps to get to the point where that can be attempted.

The House is the first step. The more they talk about cannabis, the more they get used to the idea. What happens in the Senate will depend a lot on what outcomes there are in the 2020 elections. And of course, a lot hinges on who occupies the Oval Office come January 20, 2021.

But that is then and this is now. Pressure must be continually applied to members of the House; the more they hear from the voters in their districts, the more apt they are to take notice. If marijuana law reform can help them hold on to their seat, their support will be much more likely.


  1. Let’s put legalization of Cannabis in the USA and complete removal of Cannabis and derivatives off the Schedule 1 rating as our focus. This is the only true solution to our situation. There is not one valid reason behind the current Schedule 1 Drug rating which equates the danger along with heroine, with cocaine and meth Schedule 2. Clearly there is no science behind this. We have the vote, adopt the guidelines of other countries currently prospering, say like Canada, and be sure to invoke a 5-10 year moratorium on purchase of Cannabis or Hemp, Businesses, related Cannabis or Hemp industries, or Cannabis or Hemp land by entities outside the United States. We can legalize cannabis by 4/20/2020 if we really want to. The best part is that we would be taking the control away from the politicians. For too long, far too many people are receiving fat pay checks to talk about programs to allow taxation on Cannabis money, without allowing legalization. In essence saying, ‘We’ll tax you, and reserve the right to take everything, should absolutely anyone decide to challenge implied cannabis business protection.’

    We have the vote. The people can save these United States of America. We don’t need politicians to hold it up one second longer. We know Big Pharma companies have been trying to control the situation, and it’s time to STOP! Pharmaceuticals kill people every day and yet the government supports their usage as the good outweighs the bad. Cannabis kills…NO One! (Current Mystery Vape Illness & Death leaning towards improper processing chemicals.) Come on. Let’s save America. We can all be Superheros, save lives and help so many, while helping our economy at the same time. What are we waiting for?

    If you say we can’t, I say, I’m up for that challenge. #ChallengeUSA4202020

  2. The best update to marijuana law reform would be for Congress to first reconstruct the currently malformed federal definition of marijuana to carefully deschedule cannabis in conformance with the Constitution, then remove marijuana itself from Schedule 1. The best circumstance would do both lawful steps to marijuana legalization at the same time.

    We can provide the “continuous push” for a “comprehensive cannabis law reform” by contacting our members of Congress about first reconstructing the currently malformed definition, like this:

    (16) The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L., which is, as are the viable seeds of such plant, prohibited to be grown by or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company, and such smoke is prohibited to be inhaled by any child or by any person bearing any firearm, as is the intake of any part or any product of such plant containing more than 0.3% THC by weight unless prescribed to such child by an authorized medical practitioner.

    Compare the reconstructed definition to the malformed definition from the Farm Bill of 2018:

    (16)(A) Subject to subparagraph (B), the term “marihuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin.
    (B) The term “marihuana” does not include (i) hemp, as defined in section 297A of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946; or (ii) the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.

    By replacing the racist term “marihuana” with its anglicized homonym “marijuana”, then that federal law will become race neutral.

    By defining marijuana in a straightforward way, instead of adumbrating its meaning with this embedded riddle, “What is ‘all parts of the plant’, and simultaneously ‘does not include the mature stalks’?”, then the Necessary and Proper Clause will be respected, and the Commerce Clause won’t be used to prohibit commercial activity of cannabis and its products.

    By clearly describing how marijuana is actually derived from cannabis, then it will be easier to determine whether to also deschedule marijuana, based on the adulterated medical value that marijuana itself derives from descheduled cannabis.

    By including the legitimate federal prohibitions within the definition, then cannabis will be carefully descheduled for citizens within a perimeter of limited federal controls that conform to the 2nd, 9th, 10th, and 14th Amendments, and inhibit children from “smoking marijuana”.

    By insisting that Congress does each of these things to the definition, then the versatile, valuable, renewable natural resource that is identified as the plant Cannabis sativa L., will be known as the carefully descheduled precursor plant that can be used for both “marijuana” and “hemp” under state regulations, instead of being federally misconstrued as either the prohibited “marijuana plant” or the exempted “hemp plant”.

    By simply reconstructing the malformed definition, then marijuana law will be reformed to uphold the civil rights expressed in the legal documents of the Founding Fathers, by helping to prevent misconstruction or abuse of the Constitution’s powers, extend the ground of public confidence in the Government, and best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution, as well as establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, by adhering to the self-evident truths that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.