congressman

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Arizona: Congressman Ruben Gallego Endorses Initiative To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

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Congressman Ruben Gallego on Monday announced that he is endorsing an initiative poised for the November ballot that would end marijuana prohibition in Arizona and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

“Forcing sales of this plant into the underground market has resulted in billions of dollars flowing into the hands of drug cartels and other criminals,” Rep. Gallego said. "We will be far better off if we shift the production and sale of marijuana to taxpaying Arizona businesses that are subject to strict regulations. It will also allow the state to direct law enforcement resources toward reducing violence and other more serious crimes.

“I am proud to support this initiative, as it represents a far more sensible approach to marijuana for our state,” Gallego said. “It will make Arizona communities safer, while also generating some much-needed tax revenue for our schools.”

Gallego, a Democrat who represents Arizona’s 7th Congressional district, which includes central and south Phoenix as well as western Maricopa County communities, announced his endorsement at a news conference on the House Lawn of the Arizona State Capitol. He was joined by leaders of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is supporting the initiative.

U.S.: Blumenauer To Offer Veterans Equal Access Amendment For Medical Marijuana

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Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon this week will offer an amendment to make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical marijuana, when the U.S. House of Representatives considers the FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a veteran’s participation in a state medical marijuana program. This forces veterans out of the VA system to seek a simple recommendation for treatment for eligible conditions as granted to them by state laws.

Rep. Blumenauer’s amendment ensures that no funds made available to the VA can be used to implement this prohibition, which would, in effect, strike it down.

“It’s wrong and unfair to force our veterans outside of the VA system to simply seek a recommendation on whether or not medical marijuana is a good treatment option," said Congressman Blumenauer. "And, our VA physicians should not be denied the ability to offer such a recommendation if they think it may meet the needs of their patient.”

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed By Congressman Ted Lieu

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Congressman and military veteran U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) on Monday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Lieu has won awards as a military prosecutor, an advisor to U.S. Air Force commanders and as a law student and private attorney. As a congressman, he serves on the House Budget and Oversight Committees.

Last year, Lieu introduced bipartisan legislation to save taxpayer dollars by blocking the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from financing its Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Program through civil asset forfeitures.

“I’ve reviewed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act and believe it creates a legal, responsible and regulated framework for adult use of marijuana that is fiscally responsible, smartly builds on what California has already done with medical marijuana and provides necessary protections for children, workers, local governments, law enforcement agencies and the environment,” said Rep. Lieu.

“As a policy, marijuana prohibition has wasted taxpayer resources while failing to protect our communities,” Lieu said. “The Adult Use of Marijuana Act represents a vastly superior and long overdue new approach.”

U.S.: Congressman Blumenauer Writes Open Letter To President About Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Congressman Earl Blumenauer on Tuesday wrote an open letter advocating marijuana legalization to President Obama in advance of the President's State of the Union speech.

"As you begin your last year in office, I hope there is one more step you take to bring about fundamental change — ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances," Rep. Blumenauer wrote to the President.

The language chosen by Rep. Blumenauer is very significant, politically speaking. "Removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances" is, of course, the only way forward that avoids cannabis being immediately co-opted and controlled by Big Pharma, which is assuredly what will happen if it is moved from Schedule I to Schedule II or III on the Uniformed Controlled Substances Act.

Following is Rep. Blumenauer's letter in its entirety.

An Open Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President:

A State of the Union speech is a unique opportunity to address Congress and the nation about priorities and accomplishments, as well as to highlight critical issues.

I remember another speech in May 2008 when you spoke to over 70,000 Portlanders. The overwhelming feeling of hope coming from the crowd was palpable.

Oregon: Congressman Earl Blumenauer Calls For End To Failed Marijuana Prohibition

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As Oregon’s Emerging Marijuana Industry Visits Capitol Hill, Rep. Blumenauer Calls for Federal Government to Get Out of the Way

As representatives from the Oregon Cannabis Association visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) on the House floor called for an end to the federal government’s failed approach of marijuana prohibition.

“Mr. Speaker, advocates from the new emerging marijuana industry in Oregon are descending on Capitol Hill at a very critical time for this fledgling industry," Congressman Blumenauer said. "They have a report about the implementation of Oregon’s Ballot Measure 91, overwhelming approved by voters last year to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana at the state level.

“Possession became legal July 1st," Blumenauer said. "Retail sales were authorized in existing dispensaries on the 1st of October to significant interest around the state. The first week saw an estimated $11 million in sales. They are working hard to implement the spirit and the letter of the measure, working closely with the Oregon legislature to refine it – learning from the experiences of states like Washington and Colorado that have already legalized adult use.

“Theirs is a positive story of economic opportunity, product development, tax revenues, more freedom for individuals, and eliminating the racial disparities in the enforcement of a failed policy of prohibition that comes down heavily against young men of color – especially African Americans," Rep. Blumenauer said.

Oregon: Marijuana Legalization Measure 91 Endorsed By Colorado Congressman Jared Polis

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado Congressman Jared Polis on Friday gave a ringing endorsement to Measure 91, the ballot initiative which would legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon. Voters will decide the fate of the measure on Tuesday.

"The implementation of our new laws has gone smoothly overall, providing an excellent example for other states to follow," wrote Rep. Polis, who represents Colorado's Second Congressional District. "Our success has made it clear that when marijuana is regulated like alcohol, it can decrease crime, help fund schools and drug education programs, and keep money out of the hands of criminals and cartels.

"Voters in Oregon should look to our experience and success as they make their decision on Measure 91 on their ballot November 4th," Polis wrote in an op-ed which appeared in The Bend Bulletin on Friday.

"Violent crime is down in Denver," Polis wrote. "Fatal car crashes are in decline statewide. Marijuana arrests that mostly hindered low-income people and young men of color are no longer creating obstacles for employment, housing and education."

"I'm excited Oregon will soon decide whether to join Colorado and Washington in regulating marijuana like alcohol," Polis wrote. "More than ever, I believe it's time to change course on decades of failed marijuana prohibition and demonstrate viable, effective alternatives to address the realities of marijuana today."

Oregon: Congressman Blumenauer Launches Ads Backing States' Right To Decide On Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) says states have the right to legalize marijuana, and he's launching an ad campaign backing that theme, he said on Thursday night.

The ads launched on Friday, paid for with his own campaign money to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, reports KATU News.

Rep. Blumenauer is the first Congressman known to have run ads for marijuana policy reform using his own campaign funds.

"Our marijuana laws don't work and cost the government billions," Rep. Blumenauer said. "Federal drug law says that marijuana is more dangerous than meth or cocaine, and that is false."

It's time for police to focus on real drug abuse, according to the Democratic Congressman, and he said cannabis should be regulated and taxed, and should help fund local government projects.

"I think we get real," Blumenauer said of marijuana policy. "We do the research. We work to keep it out of the hands of kids. We don't pretend something that's not true."

Blumenauer isn't just targeting Oregon with his ads. He's posting it online as well, so that other states will be aware of his stance on cannabis policy.

Photo of Rep. Earl Blumenauer: AP Photo/Politico

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