Bill to regulate cannabis like alcohol heads to Congress

A US politician has introduced a bill that would see cannabis made legal at a federal level and regulated in the same way as alcohol.

Currently, recreational cannabis consumption is legal in 10 US states, while a number of others are considering the move.

Oregon congressman Earl Blumenauer, who is also founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, wants to see cannabis removed from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and regulated nationally by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

He introduced the H.R. 420, the Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act in Congress last week. The number ‘420’ is slang for consumption of cannabis.

“While the bill number may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, the issue is very serious,” said Blumenauer. “Our federal marijuana laws are outdated, out of touch and have negatively impacted countless lives.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.”

Last year, Canada became the world’s second country to legalise recreational cannabis sales nationally, after Uruguay. Luxembourg is expected to become the third country to do so. South Africa recently legalised recreational cannabis use, but selling the drug remains a criminal offence.

US trade body the Distilled Spirits Council has created a set of ‘marijuana policy principles’ that state marijuana should be taxed and regulated in the same way as alcohol.

A number of drinks firms have moved into the cannabis market. Chief among them is Constellation Brands, which has acquired a multi-billion-dollar stake in Canada’s Canopy Growth Corporation and announced its intention to develop cannabis-based beverages.

The group said it would not launch such products in the US until recreational consumption was made federally legal.


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Author: Amy Hopkins {authorlink}