Congress is on the cusp of regulating cannabis like alcohol

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Cannabis could soon be eradicated from Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act, after bill H.R. 420 was put in front of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The “420 bill” would regulate the plant like alcohol – a stark contrast to cannabis’s current Schedule I listing, which puts it alongside dangerous and addictive drugs like heroin.

Named the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act,” bill H.R. 420 would effectively remove cannabis from the Schedule I list of controlled substances. Instead, cannabis oversight would be conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Currently, pot prohibitionist body the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is in charge of regulating cannabis.

Following the Democratic-House flip that occurred late last year, bill H.R. 420 should have a pretty justified hearing. If all goes well, cannabis could become legal on a nationwide scale.

What is cannabis bill H.R. 420 all about?

“Congress has the power to unravel this mess,” said Oregon-based Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who introduced bill H.R. 420.

Aside from being a pro-pot politician, Blumenauer also co-founded the Congressional Cannabis Caucus in 2017 with business partners from Alaska, California, and Colorado. Blumenauer’s cannabis bill would enable states to determine their own laws on the herb, minus interference from the federal government. If passed, bill H.R. 420 would regulate the cannabis plant in the same way that tobacco and alcohol are regulated.

Why is bill H.R. 420 so important?

For too long, the DEA has remained firm on its opinion about removing cannabis from Schedule I. This means that the plant has been stuck next to cocaine, heroin, LSD and other substances that have a serious potential for abuse; in spite of medical research indicating its therapeutic potential for widespread illnesses and conditions.

This creates difficulties for businesses who want to conduct cannabis-friendly business operations in legal weed states, but cannot. Why? Cannabis banking services are not yet offered to companies that are active in the world of weed, leaving businesses to deal with operations on a cash-only basis. Medical research on the plant has also been limited due to federal restrictions.

Hopefully, if bill H.R. 420 passes, the U.S. cannabis industry can flourish with no limitations. Since Oregon is currently dealing with a glut in weed supply, bill H.R. 420 could also help resolve the issue by permitting the sale of cannabis across state lines.