Understanding the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act and Its Implications

If Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, has his way, marijuana will soon be treated like alcohol. Not only would the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act remove the substance from the current list of controlled substances, but existing federal agencies would be put in charge of overseeing it. Mr. Blumenauer believes current federal laws regarding this substance are outdated and have had a negative impact on countless lives. He feels this needs to change as more Americans support the legalization of this substance.

Current Law

Currently, marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug under the U.S. Controlled Substance Act. As a result, it is federally outlawed and strictly regulated. However, thirty-three states have legalized the use of this substance for recreational, medicinal, or recreational and medicinal use. This has led to complications for those in the industry who are abiding by state law while violating one or more federal ones. Furthermore, federally insured banks are hesitant to work with the industry as they don’t want to be in violation of federal law. Legislators must act to resolve these conflicts now and in the future.

The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act

With the passage of this proposed law, marijuana would be decriminalized at the federal level. It would no longer be a controlled substance, and enforcement authority would be turned over to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The industry would then be nationally regulated, and the FDA would be given the same authorities for marijuana that it currently has for alcohol. The DEA would no longer have any role in the industry, as enforcement duties would be turned over to the ATF.

This is not the first time bills of this type have been proposed. In fact, Jared Polis, Colorado’s governor and a former representative, put forth a similar act while serving in Congress and other legislators have also proposed new laws to be voted on. The Marijuana Policy Project Organization is closely watching these measures and supporting those that move the industry forward to ensure everyone who wishes to have access to marijuana obtains it.