On May 15, 2017, Congressman Tom Garrett, R-Va., announced that he is going to hold a press conference outside of the U.S. Capitol on May 17 to discuss H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017. If approved, H.R. 1227 would remove marijuana from the federal controlled substances list, decriminalizing it federally.
Starting at 2 p.m., Garrett will be joined by advocates, Jason Amatucci of the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition and advocacy organizations, including Americans for Safe Access. Several co-sponsors of H.R. 1227 may also be in attendance, including Congressman Scott Taylor, R-Va.
Garrett’s announcement comes of the heels of an analysis by the Capital News Service that found Virginia’s black residents are three times more likely than white residents to be arrested on marijuana charges.
In a previous statement, Garrett explained, “I have long believed justice that isn’t blind, isn’t justice. Statistics indicate that minor narcotics crimes disproportionately hurt areas of lower socio-economic status and what I find most troubling is that we continue to keep laws on the books that we do not enforce. Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California.”
Garrett introduced the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act on Feb. 27, 2017.