Republican Representative Tom Garrett strongly opposes the rescinding of the Cole Memo. As a result of that announcement, he’s pushing his own bill, H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act. The bill would stop federal penalties against anyone participating in a state-legalized marijuana activity.
H.R. 1227 has bipartisan support, according to Rapp News. The legislation, “is a bipartisan bill that gives states the ability to formulate their own marijuana policy free from federal interference”. Garrett’s legislation was introduced in early 2017.
He’s been a leader in the Republican party in terms of taking an alternative position regarding marijuana law enforcement in states where it is legal. Republicans in the House and Senate are joining the increasing numbers supporting change.
Garrett said, “This is not a Republican or Democrat Issue. The neat thing about this [legislative proposal] is we have Republicans alongside Democrats. And if we get this thing through committee it will pass with a bipartisan majority and empower states to make decisions for themselves.”
He also said, “I respect the rule of law. We are sending young people to federal prison for an offense that is completely ignored in another state. That’s ridiculous.”
He continued by saying, “We are sending one person to prison in [an anti-marijuana] state where they are entrepreneur of the year in [a pro-marijuana] state.”
Garrett has three main points:
- Marijuana laws have become unjust and one can’t enforce unjust federal laws
- The benefits of medical marijuana are well documented in terms of fighting things from cancer to PTSD, and it’s safer than opioids
- Industrial hemp is imported but the government forbids its cultivation – despites its growing number of consumer, economic and agriculture benefits.
A major benefit to H.R. 1227 is making changes to the Controlled Substances Act. It would essentially remove marijuana so that no penalties of any kind could be associated with the plant. Marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both removed from Schedule I status. Criminal penalties for importing, exporting, distribution, possession with intent to distribute and manufacturing in states choosing to legalize marijuana would be eliminated.
Now, one thing to pay attention to in this bill is that anyone importing, exporting or selling marijuana in an area that has not legalized it will be a crime. Criminal penalties would be enforced, which could mean fines, jail or both.
Garrett’s bill has 15 co-sponsors including:
- Republican Duncan Hunter
- Republican Dana Rohrabacher
- Representative Don Young
- Representative Scott Taylor
- Representative Justin Amash
- Democrat Earl Perlmutter
- Democrat Beto O’Rourke
- Democrat Jarid Polis
- Democrat Earl Blumenauer
- Democrat Tulsi Gabbard
- Democrat Raul Grijalva
- Democrat Pramila Jayalpa
- Democrat Ro Khanna
- Democrat Jamie Raskin
- Democrat Steve Cohen