So in an attempt to find out what actually took place on the Hill, As I was not actually able to attend or see the actual Press Conference, this is all I was even able to locate in the News or On-line about it. ~
Congressman focuses bright D.C. cannabis spotlight on popular legalization bill
May 18, 2017 by David Hodes 0 Comments
Yesterday, May 17, Virginia Fifth District Congressman Tom Garrett announced more details of his bill, H.R. 1227, “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” which he introduced in Congress in February. He updated the crowd of advocates and reporters with more on the hoped-for success of the bill that is going forward now with a host of new co-sponsors.
The bill, which the congressman says is similar to a bill by Senator Bernie Sanders that floated around briefly in Congress in 2015 (some say there is no real difference between Garrett’s bill and Sander’s bill), seeks to specifically remove marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinoids from the federal schedule of controlled substances and leave regulation up to the individual states. “Senator Sanders had an identical bill,” Garrett says. “I know that because my legislative staff poached the bill. All we really changed was the spelling of marijuana. His bill spelled it ‘marihuana,’” Garrett says.
Garrett’s bill enjoys wider bipartisan support today than when introduced, now co-sponsored by seven Democrats and four Republicans, including the original two sponsors: Democrat representative from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard; and Republican representative from Virginia, Scott Taylor. Four new co-sponsors have joined just since the beginning of April.
Garrett chose this day because two marijuana events garnering national attention were occurring simultaneously in D.C.: lobby days by the National Cannabis Industry Association, and the Marijuana Business conference at National Harbor. This is a big week for cannabis in D.C., and Garrett wanted to make sure that his bill got some of the spotlight. “This is a very, very important initiative,” Garrett says. “This is the federal deregulation of marijuana. This is not decriminalization.”
Garrett was a criminal prosecutor in Virginia, and said his views were shaped by that experience. “I enforced the laws of the Commonwealth,” he says. “But I cannot tolerate, either as a citizen and a prosecutor, the unequal application of justice.”
He said that he believes that when a person is sent to Washington to represent constituents, and identify a problem, steps should be taken to solve the problem. “That is why we stand here today,” he says. “What we see here early on is a sort of personal liberty coalition that defies party identification, which I think is nice for a change.”
He says that what drove him to champion this bill is the issue of law enforcement. “We now have a situation where federal laws are enforced in some states and not enforced in other states,” Garrett says. “It’s unconscionable. I fear that my colleagues in Congress have been so afraid to point out the 800 pound gorilla in the room that we have all engaged in a conversation about how lovely the emperor’s clothes are. But the reality is we live in the unequal application of the law.”
He says that he is working with the committee of jurisdiction for his bill, which is the judiciary committee. Their subcommittee will be the first test of the bill. “If we hit critical mass in that subcommittee, and ask for a vote in the subcommittee, then do the same thing in the full committee and get a critical mass there, then get the bill out to the floor, I think it will pass. And it will pass with a bipartisan majority,” he says. “Right now it’s strategic as to when we try to push it. And we want to know we have the votes before we do it.”
Appearing with Garrett were mothers of two children who suffer from epilepsy, and have to break federal law to get CBD oil to treat their children. “This is the issue I got into politics for,” Garrett says, pointing to the two mothers. “You can write a bill, you can lobby a bill, but you can’t hug a bill. Doing the right thing is why I do this. And if it costs me politically, than I will go out knowing that I have been true to myself. It’s a pretty good gig.”
David Hodes is the Acting Managing Editor of CBE Press LLC. based in the Greater Washington DC metropolitan area. He is the former editor of seven different business magazines, and has contributed feature articles to several business/lifestyle and national cannabis magazines. Hodes is also a former field producer for CBS News, NBC, NFL Network, ESPN and other media outlets, and worked as a news promotions producer for two network affiliates. He is member of the National Press Club, and deputy booking agent for the National Press Club Headliners Committee.
My Response ~
Again, I want to take this opportunity to say a BIG THANK YOU!!! To Mr. Garrett, To ALL our OFFICIALS, as well as, To ALL those involved. To ALL who have STEPPED UP!!! On behalf of our Nation and our Globe; with this Very Powerful Initiative set fourth to place an End to this part of the War on Freedom, Health, Nature and at least this part of the Globe.
Dear Mr. Hodes
I Thank You! For “your” being what seems to be, “the only one” individual or any one source of information, news or media. From what I can find, who even tried to update anyone about the actual Information or News of what went on at the actual Press Conference it’s self.
I found this to be very interesting in it’s self. While when I looked at what you had to actually say about it all and was really kinda Not surprised that you reported it in a Misleading or almost Fake News fashion.
I mean I will “quote” you ~ “seeks to specifically remove ” from above, to show you why and where you error or mislead, to make my point here.
Quoting you again, quoting Mr. Garrett,
“This is a very, very important initiative,” Garrett says. “This is the federal deregulation of marijuana. This is not decriminalization.”
Even though you quote him on all this, you then use the word “Legalization” to describe it all in your title!???
WTF are you NOT understanding about the “distinction” being made here???
Let’s see if I can help you and others…
This is a Bill calling for a “Congressional Act” of Legislation of an actual Act of “Repeal” = “Deregulation” = To “Specifically Remove” Previous Bad or Outdated Congressional Acts of Regulation or Legislation. = NOT “Legalization” at all!
Legalization is a set of Legal Lies = words, terms or rules = Lies, disguised to look and sound like decriminalization, which in actuality really only leads to more legislation and more regulation and thus more criminalization…. = A very vicious fraudulent cycle of abuse of authority! That no one in the understanding or “know” of the Linguistics of Law, will ever buy!!!
Please, understand the Legal definitions of the words, terms, the semantics and the Legal Process Being Taken before attempting to explain it to others. Thank You! Because there are too many Legal Lies = Legalize in this War on People and Plants = NOT “Drugs” at all!
Also Spot Lighted in this Search
Energy & Resources Digest – New investor report:
Six Top Pot Stocks for 2017
Photo Courtesy of Paket.
While One Year ago Today:
By Tom Angell on May 19th, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Updated: May 24th, 2016 at 5:18 pm Health & Medicine, Law & Politics
Congress OKs Medical Marijuana for Military Veterans
The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives both took action to increase military veterans’ access to medical marijuana on Thursday.
By a vote of 89-8, senators approved a bill containing language preventing the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) from spending money to enforce a current policy that prohibits its government doctors from filling out medical marijuana recommendation forms in states where the drug is legal.
The House approved an amendment to accomplish the same goal by a vote of 233-189 earlier in the day.
“We are pleased that both the House and Senate have made it clear that the Veterans Administration should not punish doctors for recommending medical cannabis to their veteran patients,” Mike Liszewski, government affairs director for Americans for Safe Access (ASA), told Marijuana.com. “Combat veterans are disproportionately affected by several conditions that medical cannabis can effectively treat, including chronic pain, PTSD and traumatic brain injury. We anticipate this amendment will reach the president, and once signed, it will give V.A. physicians another tool in their toolbox to treat the healthcare needs of America’s veterans.”
The provisions are now part of a larger bills to fund the V.A. and other government agencies through next year. The medical cannabis language was attached to the Senate legislation last month in bipartisan vote of 20-10 in the Appropriations Committee, and did not require a separate vote on the floor.
Last year the Senate approved the Fiscal Year 2016 version of the V.A. spending bill, with similar medical cannabis protections for veterans attached, but the House narrowly defeated a move to add the amendment to its version of the legislation by a vote of 213-210. As a result, the provision was not included in the final omnibus appropriations package signed into law by President Obama in December.
Since then, momentum on medical cannabis and broader marijuana law reform issues has continued to increase. Last month, for example, Pennsylvania became the 24th state in the U.S with a comprehensive medical marijuana program. This month the Ohio House of Representatives approved medical cannabis and, on Thursday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed a medical marijuana bill into law.
U.S. House and Senate negotiators will meet in a conference committee to iron out the discrepancies in funding levels and other differing provisions between each chamber’s version of the spending legislation. But since both now include medical marijuana protections for veterans, it is likely that they will make it into the final package sent to President Obama for enactment into law.
“I commend my colleagues for showing compassion and supporting our wounded warriors,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who sponsored the amendment on the House floor, said in a press release. “Today’s vote is a win for these men and women who have done so much for us and deserve equal treatment in being able to consult with, and seek a recommendation from, their personal V.A. physician about medical marijuana.”
The V.A. policy disallowing its doctors from recommending medical marijuana in states where it is legal actually expired on January 31 but, under the department’s procedures, the ban technically remains in effect until a new policy is enacted.
Advocates expect a new policy soon, but aren’t sure what it will say. In February 2015, a top V.A. official testified before a House committee that the department is undertaking “active discussions” about how to address the growing number of veterans who are seeking cannabis treatments.
The language of the House and Senate veterans medical marijuana protections differ somewhat.
The Senate bill reads:
None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Veterans Affairs in this Act may be used in a manner that would—
(1) interfere with the ability of a veteran to participate in a medicinal marijuana program approved by a State;
(2) deny any services from the Department to a veteran who is participating in such a program; or
(3) limit or interfere with the ability of a health care provider of the Department to make appropriate recommendations, fill out forms, or take steps to comply with such a program.
Whereas the House bill says:
None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement, administer, or enforce Veterans Health Administration directive 2011-004 (or directive of the same substance) with respect to the prohibition on “VA providers from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran’s participation in a State marijuana program”.
While the Senate language seems more all-encompassing, advocates believe that whichever approach is included in the final enacted legislation will be sufficient to give veterans greatly expanded access to medical cannabis.
“The Senate language clearly states that interference is forbidden conduct, while the House language prohibits the V.A. from adopting or enforcing rules to interfere,” Liszewski, of ASA, said in an interview. “Once signed by the president, we look forward to working with the Veterans Administration to make sure that V.A. physicians are aware of their ability to recommend medical cannabis to veterans who could benefit from it.”
A trio of Democratic senators submitted an additional amendment this week intended to spur medical cannabis research by the V.A., but it did not receive a vote on the Senate floor.
Attention now turns to separate Congressional appropriations bills that fund other parts of the government, most importantly legislation that covers the Justice Department. For the past two years, advocates have succeeded in attaching language to the bill preventing the Drug Enforcement Administration and other Justice Department agencies from spending money to interfere with state medical marijuana and industrial hemp laws. A move to broaden the protections to cover all state marijuana laws, including full legalization, narrowly failed on the House floor last year but could now have enough increased support to pass if voted on again.
Advocates will also continue pushing to add protections for banks that work with legal marijuana businesses to legislation covering the Treasury Department. And, there could be votes concerning the District of Columbia’s ability to spend its own money taxing and regulating marijuana sales.
“This is an historic moment and further proof there is real movement and bipartisan support in reforming outdated federal marijuana policies,” said Blumenauer, of the victory for veterans. “There is more to be done, and I will build on today’s momentum and continue my efforts in catching federal policy up to reflect the views held by a majority of Americans.”