Home Politics The Importance of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus

The Importance of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), one of the founding members of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. Image Credit: Flickr @ Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington

Although there are many uncertainties surrounding the issue of marijuana law reform, there are some things we can be absolutely certain of. Federal-level reform is a must in the U.S.; that is one certainty. Another certainty is that 2019 is the best year yet to actually accomplish federal cannabis law reform.

Without a change in federal law, whatever states do in regards to changing cannabis policy will always be in imminent danger. Lawmakers will always use federal law as an excuse to do as little as possible.

Fortunately there is a group of stalwarts in the U.S. Congress that fight for progress on the marijuana law reform front. The Congressional Cannabis Caucus lost a couple of founding members with the departures of Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) from the House of Representatives, but added new blood with the addition of Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH).

“The Cannabis Caucus was the first of its kind to create a forum for elected officials to collaborate on ways to address our outdated federal marijuana laws,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), another founding member of the caucus. “Congress is clearly out of step with the American people on cannabis when national support for federal marijuana legalization is at an all-time high and we saw several states move toward with legalization last November.”

Rep. Blumenauer – with the help of NORML – has made it easy for you to send a letter to your Representative that urges them to join the Cannabis Caucus. NORML and the Oregon Representative have also collaborated on several events designed to spread knowledge about cannabis.

“In the last session of Congress, NORML hosted a number of events in cooperation with our Cannabis Caucus, including regular policy briefings and bringing in unique perspectives such as travel writer Rick Steves, former US Attorneys Barry Grissom and Bill Nettles, and victims of criminalization as part of the inaugural Caucus event entitled ‘The Faces of Prohibition,’” Blumenauer said in an email press release. “Additionally, in a strong demonstration of grassroots advocacy, hundreds of NORML members who traveled from all around the country to meet with their federal officials moved us ever closer to our goals.”

Getting back to certainties, here’s another one: things move quickly when it comes to who holds power in Washington D.C. Every opportunity to advance cannabis legislation must be seized, and 2019 is a year that a lot can get done.