Article by Michael R. Blood, Global News.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden proposed legislation Friday that would give states a free hand to allow legal cannabis markets without the threat of federal criminal intervention, the latest push in Congress to bolster the nation’s burgeoning pot industry.
The proposal, identical to a bill in the House, aims to ease the longstanding conflict between states where cannabis is legal in some form and the U.S. government, which categorizes marijuana as a dangerous illegal drug, similar to LSD or heroin.
“The federal prohibition of marijuana is wrong, plain and simple,” Wyden, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Too many lives have been wasted, and too many economic opportunities have been missed.”
It remains unclear if Wyden’s bill would have a chance of clearing the Republican-controlled Senate.
The Democratic majority in the House appears more open to considering proposals to ease federal restrictions on marijuana. The chamber has set a hearing next week on a bill intended to make banking services more widely available for pot companies.
A proposal similar to Wyden’s previously languished in the Senate and House.
However, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat carrying the current bill in the House, said voters have “elected the most pro-cannabis Congress in American history.”