International Cannabis Business Conference

Legalizing Marijuana the Most Popular House Bill

The marijuana legalization bill, H.R. 499, is No. 1 with a bullet at Congress.gov.

The bill currently “most viewed” by citizens visiting the Congress’ website is H.R. 499 - the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013. It ranks higher than the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, not to mention bills for jobs, emergency unemployment aid and more. Yet the House has not made any moves towards voting on this legislation, ignoring the obvious will of the people.

Thanks to Tom Angell, who heads Marijuana Majority, there’s a screen shot from Dec. 20, showing the bill sitting right at the top of the “most viewed bills” list at Congress.gov, where it's still No. 1 as of today.

H.R. 499 lists several aims. First and foremost, it directs the Attorney General to issue an order to remove marijuana completely, “in all forms,” from the Controlled Substances Act. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jared Polis, (D-CO), wants marijuana regulated in the same, or similar, fashion as alcohol. Among many other things, it would give the FDA the same authorit over marijuana that it now has over alcohol. It seeks to remove marijuana law enforcement from the DEA and put it under control of the ATF, renaming it the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana, Firearms and Explosives Administration. The bill would also eliminate marijuana as one of the targeted substances currently focused on by the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign boondoggle run by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, already found to be utterly useless in reducing teen drug use.

So why is Congress ignoring this bill? The latest Gallup Poll on the topic of marijuana legalization shows that 58% of Americans favor legalization, the highest figure since the question was first posed back in 1969, when just 12% approved. It would seem politically expedient that politicians not only pay attention but act upon the desires of their constituents. However, Congress blithely continues allocating more money to prohibition every year, and doing nothing to amend their antiquated, destructive anti-marijuana policies.

“I think the simplest explanation is that too many members of Congress are getting advice from political consultants who are still stuck in the '80s and think that a 'tough on drugs' approach is what voters want,” Angell tells CelebStoner. “With so many other issues at the forefront of their minds, I'm guessing that many of these high-level political operators just haven't yet taken note of the fact that marijuana reform is absolutely a mainstream issue with voters now. It's no excuse, of course, but that's what I'd guess is going on.”

When Congress will finally get in line with the voters is unsure. Still, the end of the War on Weed is drawing ever nearer. One day, people will look back on these dark times and wonder how it managed to drag on so long.

Preston Peet

Preston Peet

Editor of "Under the Influence, the Disinformation Guide to Drugs," former editor of DrugWar.com, and writer of numerous articles around the globe.