If the federal government ever opens back up, and who knows, one congressman has a big proposal for the government: to move cannabis regulation away from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which has overseen federal marijuana crime since time out of mind. Instead, weed would now fall under the purview of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
The proposal comes from noted cannabis political advocate Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), in the form of the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, or House Bill 420. Hardy har!
“While the bill number may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, the issue is very serious,” said Blumenauer, according to the Willamette Week.
“Our federal marijuana laws are outdated, out of touch and have negatively impacted countless lives. Congress cannot continue to be out of touch with a movement that a growing majority of Americans support. It’s time to end this senseless prohibition.”
The move of cannabis oversight from the DEA to ATF would harken a sea change for marijuana in the United States. It would require that cannabis be removed from the Controlled Substances Act.
Importantly, it would also allow for producers and retailers to take cannabis over state lines. That would be especially nice for Blumenauer’s state of Oregon, where the weed supply has gotten oversaturated and producers are looking to expand their customer base.
If we ever have a government again, and that government votes in favor of the bill, the ATF wouldn’t be the only government agency getting in on the fun of regulating cannabis. You’d need a Schoolhouse Rock song to follow all the branches of the bureaucratic alphabet soup that would be involved in the process, but we’ll try to explain anyway:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and newly renamed Alcohol, Tobacco and Marijuana Tax and Trade Bureau (ATMTTB) would have jurisdiction over the legal cannabis industry. The ATF would have jurisdiction over the illegal cannabis industry at the federal level. Meanwhile some federal agency (maybe the ATF?) would administer licenses for cannabis businesses, as reported by High Times.
Then the DEA would practically be the only federal agency not involved in cannabis, and they would be lonely.
Photo via Flickr user WeedPornDaily