We are excited to announce that the US House of Representatives has formed its first Congressional Cannabis Caucus. The caucus was founded by Republicans Dana Rohrabacher and Don Young and Democrats Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis. The goal of the caucus is to harmonize federal laws that prohibit medical and recreational cannabis use with state laws that permit it.
In 2003, Dana Rohrabacher coauthored the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment, designed to prohibit the Justice Department from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. After six failed attempts, it finally passed in 2014 as part of an omnibus spending bill. The passage of the amendment was the first time either chamber of Congress had voted to protect medical marijuana patients and is viewed as a historic victory for marijuana reform advocates at the federal level.
Earl Blumenauer supported Oregon Ballot Measure 91 in 2014, legalizing recreational cannabis in Oregon. Rohrabacher endorsed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which legalized recreational cannabis in California in 2016, and acknowledged using medical cannabis to treat his arthritis.
In 2016, Blumenauer and Rohrabacher agreed to form a congressional caucus to streamline cannabis reform legislation at the federal level, considering it a states' rights issue. In February 2017, Rohrabacher and Blumenauer launched the caucus with Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado, and Don Young a Republican from Alaska. The caucus intends to increase medical research into cannabis and change regulations on banking and taxation for cannabis businesses.
We are thrilled to see that our elected officials are taking a stance to advance cannabis rights and we hope that more Representatives will join the caucus soon! We encourage you to ask your Representative to join too. Together, we can advance access to cannabis therapies for all who may benefit from them!