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Gabbard Urges Federal Marijuana Decriminalization

May 17, 2017, 12:53 PM HST (Updated May 17, 2017, 12:56 PM) · 42 Comments
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Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaiʻi joined Rep. Tom Garrett (VA-05) in hosting a press conference today, urging Congress to pass H.R.1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act.

Left to right: Haley Smith, Beth Collins, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and Rep. Tom Garrett urge Congress to pass the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act.

They were joined by Beth Collins and Lisa Smith who shared their personal stories of how by providing CBD oil to their children who suffer from near-constant seizures, they risk Federal prosecution simply due to the conflicting laws between the state and Federal government.

If passed, the bill would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list—treating it the same as substances like alcohol and tobacco.

Rep. Gabbard called current federal laws relating to marijuana, “archaic,” saying they “are hurting people, tearing families apart, turning everyday Americans into criminals, and negatively impacting our economy, all at a tremendous cost to taxpayers as billions are spent on an over-burdened and broken criminal justice system.”

Rep. Gabbard said that as the opioid addiction epidemic continues to spread across the country, states that have legalized medical marijuana have seen addiction rates drop and opioid abuse deaths decrease by over 20%.

“Medical marijuana has helped children like Haley Smith living with Dravet syndrome reduce her seizures and other symptoms. But her mother Lisa lives with the fear of Federal prosecution every day. Our current policy makes no sense,” said Rep. Gabbard.

The congresswoman described the bill as a “bipartisan effort” saying it will be “a great step forward in solving many fiscal and social challenges.”

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Here on Maui, the Maui Grown Therapies medical cannabis dispensary is ramping up for sales to start later this summer as part of a statewide Medical Marijuana dispensary initiative.

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard supports the full legalization of marijuana on the federal level as part of her overall effort toward criminal justice reform. She recently visited correctional facilities throughout Hawaiʻi, and met with inmates, criminal justice advocates and experts, health professionals, educators and others to discuss reducing recidivism and her continued efforts to pass federal criminal justice reform legislation like the SAFE Justice Act and the Sentencing Reform Act.

Gabbard said the bill would also “eliminate key barriers to developing an industrial hemp industry which would create jobs and provide economic opportunity to communities in Hawaiʻi, and across the country.” The congresswoman has also supported legislation like the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to support the cultivation of industrial hemp in Hawaiʻi and nationwide.

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