Home Legislative Can Federal Marijuana Law Reform Live Up to the Hype?

Can Federal Marijuana Law Reform Live Up to the Hype?


If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 420 times: cannabis law reform can only advance so far before it hits the wall of federal prohibition – and no matter what laws are passed by individual states, whatever gains have been made can never be safe.

This is why the results from last year’s elections were so important. With Democrats gaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Pete Sessions (R-TX) losing his congressional seat, many – including myself – wondered whether or not 2019 would be the ‘Year of Federal Marijuana Law Reform’.

Three months into the new Congressional session, many signs of movement can be seen. “We are seeing more support and momentum for federal reform in Congress than ever before,” Mason Tvert, Media Relations Director for The Marijuana Policy Project, told The Marijuana Times. “Of course, we would like to see lawmakers moving faster to address these big issues, but they are moving faster than in previous years, and we’re seeing some real gains being made.”

For an organization like MPP, federal marijuana law reform is like the Super Bowl (for those of you who are really into sports analogies). Battling on the ground in D.C., they see what has the best chance of working and what has a real shot at getting through the morass that is the federal legislature. “We expect the protections for state medical marijuana laws that are currently in place to be renewed in the annual spending bill,” Mason told us. “It also appears like lawmakers may be ready to add a provision that would facilitate veterans’ access to medical cannabis in states where it is legal. The McClintock amendment, which would expand the current state medical law protections to all state marijuana laws, also appears like it could advance in the House this year.

“In terms of stand-alone legislation, the SAFE Banking Act was approved by the House Financial Services Committee and seems like it has a great chance of advancing to the Senate and potentially making its way to the President’s desk. The STATES Act was just reintroduced in the House and Senate by a coalition of lawmakers from both parties, and we are hopeful it will receive a hearing in the near future.”

To be sure, the GOP-controlled Senate presents a major roadblock to legalization activists. While some Republican Senators – like Cory Gardner (CO) and Rand Paul (KY) – have expressed support in the past for marijuana law reform,  they may not be enough, especially when you consider that some Democratic Senators are lukewarm at best when it comes to cannabis legalization.

And then if anything should get through the full Congress, it will need the signature of President Trump. He has also expressed support for marijuana law reform in the past, but Donald Trump can be a bit, shall we say, unpredictable?

In the end, progress is good, and things could certainly be worse. If Republicans controlled the House and Pete Sessions still controlled the Rules Committee, we would be staring at 2 more years of zero movement.

We are not there yet, but we are getting closer. The time is now.


  1. The obvious federal marijuana reform is literal marijuana reform. Reforming the federal definition of marijuana can carefully deschedule cannabis in preparation for the removal of marijuana from Schedule 1.

    Citizens should contact members of Congress about invoking Section 5 of the 14th Amendment to restore and protect the rights of states and people to control cannabis, and to also restore and protect the privileges and immunities of citizens to exclusively grow cannabis. These rights were established by the 9th and 10th Amendments, and the privileges and immunities were established by Section 1 of the 14th Amendment. Best of all, in the context of these Amendments, Big Corporations are not people or citizens.

    This reform will carefully deschedule cannabis, and because it has a straightforward format that clearly upholds our Constitution, separate action can then remove marijuana itself from Schedule 1:

    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.

    None of the bills have yet passed, so yes, now is a good time to tell our members of Congress about enacting this simply reformed definition.

    Citizens exclusively growing carefully descheduled cannabis for sale to local cannabis businesses, or for development of quality-tested products by any business or corporation, with minimal control by the federal government, is basically what the Founding Fathers envisioned. That would be a good thing, right?