Federal Recreational Legalization: Is It Possible?

Federal recreational legalization is my ultimate personal goal and mission. It is what this website is all about. But how can we actually work to change this?! Let’s take a closer look.

Which States are Currently Still Illegal?

Here is a great map, and if you click it, (or click here) it will take you to a website that shows each state’s laws and which states marijuana is NOT at all legal in yet: Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

These are states where marijuana is fully illegal, and if we really want to make a swing at federal legalization, we have quite a bit of work to do in these states first! But most of us already know that cannabis is a schedule I drug, said to have no medical benefits whatsoever, so where does that leave legalization on a federal level?

Is Federal Legalization Even Possible?!

Let’s take a look at TheCannabisIndustry.org website that says, “In Senate confirmation hearings just recently, newly appointed Attorney General William Barr stated that he would “not go after” marijuana businesses operating in states where cannabis is legal. Barr reasoned that companies relied on the Obama-era Cole Memo (which Jeff Sessions rescinded) that kept federal authorities at bay from criminal prosecutions under Federal law. We are all aware Federal law prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana. A new bill was introduced into Congress in early February that would revive the relaxed Cole Memo enforcement guidelines.” This is good news for legalization.

“The federal prohibition of marijuana is wrong, plain and simple,” said Ron Wyden, an Oregon Senator who introduced the bill, in a statement. “Too many lives have been wasted, and too many economic opportunities have been missed,” futurism.com states. The new bill, called S.420 — get it? — would give the Drug Enforcement Administration 60 days to strike cannabis from its list of controlled substances. It would also institute a tax on the substance and set up a mechanism for retail permits and special labeling, like tobacco and alcohol, according to The Verge.

You can see here that the bill has been introduced, and now needs to pass the house, senate, and president in order to become a law. Even since it was introduced the bill has been referred to multiple committees. Although this bill faces an uphill battle, federal legalization is not only possible, it is a legitimate possibility for our near future.

Full Details on Cannabis Regulation Changes

The Trump administration reached out for public feedback in 2018, after Regulations.org stated this in regards to the rescheduling topic:

“Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a plant known by biological names Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica. It is a complex plant substance containing multiple cannabinoids and other compounds, including the psychoactive chemical THC and other structurally similar compounds. Cannabinoids are defined as having activity at cannabinoid 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2 respectively) receptors. Agonists of CB1 receptors are widely abused and are known to modulate motor coordination, memory processing, pain, and inflammation, and have anxiolytic effects.

The principal cannabinoids in the cannabis plant include THC, cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol. These substances are controlled in Schedule I under the CSA. The synthetically derived single pure stereoisomer, (−)-trans-delta-9-THC (also known as dronabinol) is the active ingredient in two approved drug products in the United States, MARINOL (dronabinol) capsules (and generics) and SYNDROS (dronabinol) oral solution. MARINOL is controlled in Schedule III, while SYNDROS is controlled in Schedule II under the CSA. Both MARINOL and SYNDROS are approved to treat anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy in patients who have failed to respond adequately to conventional treatment.

CBD is another cannabinoid constituent of the cannabis plant. In the United States, one CBD-containing product, Epidiolex oral solution, has received marketing approval by FDA for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients 2 years of age and older. The CBD in Epidiolex is extracted and purified from the cannabis plant. Currently, CBD is controlled generally as a Schedule I substance under the CSA. However, the recent scheduling action on September 28, 2018, by the DEA for Epidiolex, and any future, similar formulations of CBD that become FDA-approved medications, places these FDA-approved CBD formulations in Schedule V under the CSA. (1) CBD is not specifically listed in the schedules of the 1961, 1971, or 1988 International Drug Control conventions.

At the 40th (2018) meeting of the ECDD, the committee critically-reviewed CBD and pre-reviews of cannabis plant and resin; extracts and tinctures of cannabis; THC; and isomers of THC. The 40th ECDD recommended that preparations considered to be pure CBD should not be scheduled within the International Drug Control Conventions, and that cannabis plant and resin; extracts and tinctures of cannabis; THC; and isomers of THC proceed to a Critical Review.

How We Can Get Involved

So how can we show Congress our support for this bill? Reach out!! Talk to your local representative and let them know you want to see cannabis legalized!! You can find your state representative here on this site by zip code, and their website is linked by their name. (San Diegans contact Scott Peters here!) Once you find their contact info, you can send them a virtual e-message or you can write a note pen and paper and mail it in! They should have details for both on their site!! Don’t give up hope. Every single voice counts! Remember to keep it personal, state facts, and don’t be rude. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and most likely a touching story or factual update will help change their mind more than hate mail.

I am hopeful that a good look at the data on marijuana’s effects will inevitably lead to a pro-reform conclusion, as this Forbes article states supportingly:

“A careful review of the relevant science does not now, nor has it ever, supported a hard-line approach to cannabis scheduling. Cannabis’s abuse potential relative to other substances, including legal substances like alcohol, tobacco and prescription medications, does not warrant its continued criminalization under either U.S. or international law,” Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, said in an email. “By any rational assessment, cannabis prohibition is a disproportionate public policy response to behavior that is, at worst, a public health concern. But it should not be a criminal justice matter and international laws should no longer classify it as such.”

So what is your opinion? Should cannabis be federally legalized? When do you think (if it IS passed) that this new senate bill will be passed and legalization will happen? Comment below to guess a day!

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