Two U.S. congressmen have established a bipartisan Cannabis Caucus, set to meet in January 2017, according to a Dec. 9, 2016, article on KIVI-TV’s website.
U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., founded the caucus in hopes of reforming federal marijuana laws.
“There needs to be more strategy between us, those of us who are engaged in this. More of a long-term strategy,” Rohrabacher said. “[And] we need to have a vehicle in which people on the outside will be able to work through and sort of have a team effort from the inside and the outside.”
While many states have allowed marijuana either for medicinal or recreational purposes, federal law still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, like heroin.
Rohrabacher said he wants to make states’ rights central to his efforts. He believes states should be allowed to decide how to classify and regulate marijuana, and he thinks Republicans will support states’ rights even if they do not support legalization.
“Republicans don’t see this as something that their constituents want and they may not be positive towards legalization of marijuana,” he said. “But with the states’ rights issue, that’s how we’ve won the necessary votes from the Republican side in order to win the battle.”
Blumenauer said he is hoping for more bipartisan consensus on reform of federal marijuana laws.
“People who have been ambivalent about this before, all of a sudden just inherited constituents who care deeply about it,” he said. “Florida just passed an initiative for medical marijuana which makes it the second largest marijuana market in the United States. All of a sudden there are lots of legislators who just had their constituents vote more strongly for marijuana than they did for them.”