Virginia Republican Introduces Bill to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

Virginia Republican Introduces Bill to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition


As a trusted medical marijuana dispensary, Arizona Organix tracks laws that impact medical cannabis in The Copper State. Recently, there’s been exciting news: A proposed law that could help consumers of medical marijuana in Arizona and around the nation.

You might have already heard about the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.

What the Bill Does and Doesn’t Do

As of the November 2016 presidential election, 28 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized medical marijuana. At the start of the new year, eight states and D.C. had legalized recreational consumption for adults.

Although marijuana is seeing more support in many places throughout the U.S., possessing and consuming it can still cause legal headaches for users. Under federal laws, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule 1 drug.

That means it’s considered as dangerous as heroin, LSD, and MDMA, among others.

Even with the changes in public sentiment around cannabis, the Drug Enforcement Agency and other federal agencies retain power to enforce federal laws pertaining to it. In theory, legal users within their own state could be subject to prosecution.

The new bill seeks to change all that.

Originating with Virginia’s Rep. Thomas Garrett (R), the legislation would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act. That would eliminate the conflict between state and federal laws, allowing each state to set its own marijuana policy.

The bill would not legalize use, sale, or distribution anywhere where it isn’t already allowed.

How Might the Bill Affect Arizona?

Arizona law currently allows the use of marijuana for defined medical purposes. Recreational use is still barred. The Act would end the possibility of being prosecuted at the federal level for marijuana use that’s otherwise legal in the state. It would also open the door to the lessening or removal of any other federal restrictions that might be interpreted to apply to marijuana users.

How Can Arizonans Show Support?

Although the bill originates with a Virginia representative, that doesn’t mean you can’t help. The best thing to do is to contact your representative and express your hope he or she will support ending federal marijuana prohibition when it counts.

To find out more, check out our earlier post: “Why Isn’t Marijuana Legal Nationwide and What Can I Do in Arizona to Help Change That?” There, we’ve centralized advice for Arizona residents who want to make their voices heard on the important issue of marijuana legalization.