A congressional subcommittee has scheduled a hearing for next week to explore reforming federal marijuana laws. The hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will be held at the Rayburn House Office Building at the nation’s Capitol on Wednesday, July 10.
The hearing, dubbed “Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform,” will discuss potential pathways to a major overhaul of federal cannabis law. Justin Strekal, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said that the hearing is a milestone in American cannabis policy.
“For the first time in recent memory, there will be a candid conversation in the Judiciary Committee about the failures of marijuana prohibition in the United States and how people have been impacted,” said Strekal. “We look forward to working with the subcommittee to best inform the conversation in committee next week and the public at large on the implications of how Congress should move forward.”
Witnesses Ready to Testify
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, has been a proponent of the reform of marijuana laws since he served in the Empire State’s legislature. On Tuesday, Nadler sent a letter to David Levine, the CEO of industry group the Cannabis Trade Federation, informing him that he had been invited to appear at the hearing at the request of members of the Republican minority.
“It is an honor to be invited to represent the cannabis industry at this historic hearing,” Levine said in a press release. “I intend to use this opportunity to educate members of the committee about the challenges associated with having inconsistent federal and state cannabis laws. This inconsistency creates an unfair and inequitable situation for those working in, supplying, or desiring to be a part of the emerging cannabis industry. I am confident that the combined testimony of the witnesses will make a strong and compelling case for ending cannabis prohibition at the federal level.”
Other witnesses scheduled to appear at the hearing include States Attorney Marilyn Mosby of Baltimore, Dr. Malik Burnett of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Dr. David Nathan of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, all of whom were invited to testify by the committee’s Democratic caucus.
The full Judiciary Committee is expected to consider legislation to reform federal cannabis policy later this year, although it is not yet known if they will be acting on existing bills or creating new proposals. Several pieces of marijuana reform legislation are currently pending in Congress, including the Marijuana Justice Act from Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, a bill to allow cannabis businesses access to the U.S. banking industry, and a package of proposals from Oregon Democrats Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer known as the Path to Marijuana Reform.