A major Congressional subcommittee plans to hold a hearing next week on ending cannabis prohibition. The Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee will discuss a number of proposals that are aimed at passing legislation to protect states which have enacted marijuana laws.
Considering the list of people who are expected to be invited to speak to the subcommittee on Wednesday (July 10), one is left to conclude that the subcommittee is interested in learning how prohibition can be ended rather than gathering views on whether reform should happen.
For example, one of the witnesses who is expected to testify during the subcommittee hearing is Malik Burnett, a leading physician at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Previously, Burnett worked with the Drug Policy Alliance as its National Policy Advisor. In that role, he helped to secure success for a voter initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Washington, D.C. in 2014.
Marilyn Mosby, the Baltimore State Attorney, is also on the list of those to testify. She is noted for announcing in January this year that her department would no longer prosecute any marijuana possession case.
David Nathan, a doctor and board president of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) is also set to make an appearance before the subcommittee. DFCR is a pro-legalization group of physicians.
As you can see, the people who are lined up to talk to the subcommittee all share a desire to see the end of marijuana prohibition.
While the legislators will not be voting on any specific bill, it is nonetheless an important hearing since it marks the most important Congressional sitting on matters of marijuana policy reform. The information that they gather is expected to be passed on to the powerful House Judiciary Committee under which this subcommittee falls.
The importance of this committee explains why Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) earmarked that committee as the one that will deliver the end of prohibition in his roadmap to cannabis legalization.
Worth noting is the fact that every Democrat on the full Judiciary Committee cast his or her vote in favor of the recent amendments preventing the Justice Department from taking action in states where marijuana laws have been passed. Six Republicans also cast their votes in support of the spending riders, and this is regarded as a positive sign that broader cannabis law reform can win bipartisan support in this crucial House committee.
It is widely expected that the entire cannabis industry, including entities like Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) and Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: NUGS), will be keenly following what transpires in the subcommittee.
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