Congress To Hear Testimony Tomorrow Challenging Marijuana Criminalization

On Wednesday, July 10th at 10am, members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will hear expert testimony challenging the federal government’s failed policy of cannabis prohibition. The hearing, entitled “Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform,” will discuss alternative policy options — including ending cannabis’ longstanding Schedule I criminal status under federal law.

The hearing is indicative of the growing support in Congress for marijuana policy reform and is reflective of the fact that over 60 percent of Americans — including majorities of self-identified Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — now believe that the adult use of cannabis ought to be legal and that the federal government ought not to interfere in legal marijuana states.

“For the first time in a generation there will be a candid conversation in the House Judiciary Committee that acknowledges the failures of marijuana prohibition in the United States, how this policy has adversely impacted tens of millions of Americans, and how it must be reformed at the federal level,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “The ongoing classification under federal law of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance — a categorization that treats it in the same manner as heroin — is intellectually dishonest and has been scientifically debunked. It is high time that Congress address this Flat Earth policy and move forward with a plan that appropriately reflects marijuana’s rapidly changing cultural status in America.”

Hearing Details
Title: Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform
Time: Wednesday, July 10, 2019 – 10:00am
Place: 2141 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515

Today, NORML and other leading national criminal and public policy reform groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, The Immigrants Legal Resource Center, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Center for American Progress, released a joint Statement of Principals highlighting a legislative path forward.

“Since the scheduling of marijuana as a Controlled Substance in 1970, over 20 million Americans have been unjustly arrested or incarcerated,” continued Strekal. “Entire communities have lost generations of citizens to cyclical poverty and incarceration that resulted from the collateral consequences of having a cannabis-related conviction on their record.”

“The ongoing federal prohibition of cannabis is a disproportionate public policy response to personal behavior that is, at worst, a public health matter — not a criminal justice concern,” concluded Strekal.

You can see NORML’s one-pager on the need to remove marijuana from the CSA HERE.

You can read an Op-Ed that was published today in The Hill Newspaper by NORML Political Director Justin Strekal entitled It’s time to end the senseless and cruel policy of cannabis criminalization HERE.

You can read the joint Statement of Principles below.