When Senator Bernie Sanders in 2015 introduced his bill, which would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act and allow each state to decide if adults may consume cannabis, the Vermont lawmaker failed to acquire a cosponsor, let alone get the measure passed.
But it’s a Freshman Republican Congressman from Virginia (where no form of cannabis is legal, even for patients) that likely has the best chance of resolving the conflict between federal and state laws over medical and recreational use of the drug.
Virginia Rep. Thomas Garrett has introduced a bill identical to Sanders’ – If H.R.1227 (Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017) survives, it would end federal prohibition on marijuana use and allow states to decide their own course on legalization.
The measure is in no way a blanket legalization of the sale or use of marijuana in the U.S., but allows states to do so without the threat of federal interference. Shipping and transporting marijuana into states where it is illegal would still be a federal crime.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Rep. Scott W. Taylor (R-Va.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D.-Colo.) have already signed on to the new bill.
“Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California,” Garrett said in a statement.