House Committee Rejects GOP-Led Amendment To Ask Biden To Prepare For Federal Marijuana Legalization By Studying States

The House Republican-controlled committee has rejected a GOP member’s attempt to simply ask the White House to work with federal agencies to develop a national framework and study state models for regulating marijuana, in order to prepare for the possibility of federally legalized cannabis.

During a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday, Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) introduced an amendment to a spending bill that would request the administrative review report, as it didn’t gather enough support in the vote. After the two other Republican lawmakers asked for support in a voice vote, it was shot down.

The defeat of the bill comes on the same day that the approved committee maintains a longstanding rider blocking Washington, D.C. From using tax dollars to implement a system of regulated cannabis sales.

The congressman’s defeated amendment called for the White House to work with other relevant agencies, such as the Bureau of Trade and Tax Tobacco and Alcohol of the U.S. Department of Treasury, to coordinate an assessment of the adequacy of oversight and enforcement approaches to regulatory frameworks for cannabis in states, including both novel and commonalities.

Hakeem Jeffries, the Minority Leader of the House (D-NY), filed a bill in April that is similar to Amendment Joyce’s standalone bill. The PREPARE (PREPARE) Act would further require the Attorney General to create a commission comprised of representatives from numerous federal agencies to effectively prepare regulators for the eventual legalization of adult-use regulated environment post-prohibition. This bill filed by Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) in April is similar to Amendment Joyce’s amendment.

The congressman remarked during Thursday’s markup, “Certain states have achieved more favorable outcomes compared to others.” “Each state has undertaken this effort autonomously. As legislators, we will be more prepared to evaluate measures that harmonize tax structures and enhance public welfare and security.”

He added, “We should have the ability to look at the nationwide legalization of cannabis and gather information from these other states at the very least. I’m aware that we need to develop a similar regulatory framework.”

Rep. Tom Cole, the chairman of the separate Rules Committee, voiced support for the congressman’s amendment, saying that the widely criticized rollout of Oklahoma’s medical cannabis program underscores the need to better understand the various types of regulatory work models.

Cole stated, “This is a very valuable contribution, as it educates the public and deals with how to regulate it in an appropriate manner. I believe this is a very helpful and thoughtful way, regardless of whether we understand it here or not.” Cole added, “Having a sufficient understanding and information about regulatory issues is truly important, in my opinion, as a friend of the amendment.”

Mark Rep. Amodei (R-NV), while speaking about the amendment, also mentioned that it represents “a skinny little detail” and that he considered it a step in the right direction. However, the measure failed to garner enough support and the roll call vote on it did not pass.

Here is the complete text of what the amendment would have accomplished:.

The Executive Office urges the Committee to coordinate with other relevant regulatory agencies, such as the Bureau of Trade and Tax, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the President, to assess the adequacy of regulatory frameworks for cannabis enforcement and oversight. The Committee notes that while 35 territories and states permit the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, over 20 territories and states permit adult use of cannabis.

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The SAFE Banking Act, which is currently under debate in the Senate, is facing a tight deadline for action this summer session. This legislation raises further questions about the prospects of incremental marijuana reform bills, and it demonstrates the general opposition to cannabis reform by the majority of Republicans in the House. On Thursday, the House rejected the possibility of legalization, displaying the latest indication of the Republican House’s opposition. The White House, in response to the modest proposal, simply suggested that the start of planning for legalization was not a viable option.

Several GOP members, led by alone, included bipartisan amendments in the early morning on Thursday to block numerous amendments on psychedelics and cannabis as part of the consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on the floor. Additionally, the Republican House leadership blocked these amendments in the Rules Committee.

The GOP-led defeat of an effort by Senate Democrats to bring a bipartisan bill on researching medical cannabis for military veterans to the floor in April is also reminiscent of the vote against the Joyce amendment that occurred on Thursday.

The nature of being bipartisan simply isn’t necessarily enough to convince Republican caucus members on both sides of the aisle to actually enact them. However, it is true that some measures have enjoyed bipartisan support in terms of votes and cosponsorships to some extent during the first half of the year, leaving an impression that they have been bipartisan.

Michigan Officials Vote To End Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing For Most Government Workers

Photo credit: Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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