Search Results for: Rep. Earl Blumenauer

Oregon Marijuana Events Should Be Investigated By Feds, Rep. Earl Blumenauer Says

OREGON:  Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer on Friday called for a federal investigation into whether taxpayer dollars are being improperly spent on marijuana education events that he said appear to be aimed at influencing voters to oppose the November ballot measure that would legalize the drug.

In a letter to White House drug czar Michael Botticelli and another top federal administrator, the Portland Democratic congressman weighed into a flap over the propriety of a series of October events in Oregon that prominently feature Kevin Sabet, a national opponent of legalization.

“The bias of the speakers selected, the overall one-sided focus of the events, and the proximity between these events and the upcoming elections are cause for concern,” wrote Blumenauer, who has been one of the chief supporters of marijuana legalization in Congress.

Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis, the chief spokesman for the campaign opposing marijuana legalization, charged that Blumenauer and other pro-legalization advocates are attempting to “bully” people to keep them from discussing the potential harms of marijuana use.

 

Blumenauer Calls On Supreme Court To Review Historic Appeal Challenging The Constitutionality Of Federal Criminalization Of Cannabis

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, called upon the U.S. Supreme Court to review and proceed with hearing Washington v. Barr, the most significant and potentially consequential cannabis-related lawsuit ever to be filed.

The Court will consider the plaintiffs’ appeal at a conference on Friday, October 9, and if the Court accepts the appeal for consideration, it could pave the way to federal legalization of cannabis for the first time since 1937, providing relief to millions of Americans who treat with medical marijuana to maintain their health and lives. If the Court were to decline to hear the appeal, the case would be over for good, resigning another generation of medical marijuana patients and the state-legal cannabis industry – which has invested billions in the state-legal market – to further legal uncertainty.

“The fact that nearly 94 percent of Americans support legalizing medical cannabis and yet it remains illegal at the federal level is a national disgrace,” said Blumenauer. “Furthermore, the laws and subsequent court decisions on cannabis are a mangled patchwork of contradictions. This case is an important opportunity to fix our failed national cannabis laws.”

In July 2020, the plaintiffs in Washington v. Barr filed their appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the federal criminalization of medical marijuana. The case was filed on behalf of five plaintiffs, including former NFL player Marvin Washington, Iraq War Veteran Jose Belen, 15-year-old Alexis Bortell, nine-year-old Jagger Cotte and the Cannabis Cultural Association.

As acknowledged by the District Court in this case, Alexis, Jagger and Specialist Belen are patients whose lives have been saved by medical cannabis. As reflected in the Complaint, Marvin Washington is a cannabis entrepreneur whose business would otherwise be eligible for federal funding through the Minority Business Enterprise program, but for his participation in the cannabis industry. The Cannabis Cultural Association seeks economic parity and social justice for persons of color who have been unfairly singled out for prosecution under the Controlled Substances Act and unjustly excluded economically from the state-legal cannabis industry.

Blumenauer along with seven federal lawmakers submitted an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff’s appeal. The case also has amicus brief support from 19 advocacy groups, including the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the International Cannabis Bar Association, National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), Last Prisoner Project, Minority Cannabis Business Association, and Americans For Safe Access.

Despite its legalization by 38 U.S. states and territories, cannabis is illegal at the federal level, creating insurmountable problems for patients around the country. Patients have lost their jobs, been expelled from colleges, and lost their professional licenses, even if state-legal jurisdictions, due to cannabis stigmatization wrought by federal prohibition.

While cannabis is also on the ballot in five states that will be voting on some form of cannabis legalization in November, adoption of legalization electorally on the state level will not solve the problems associated with federal prohibition. Rather, it would merely reinforce the absurdity of marijuana’s classification under Schedule I.

To read the full amicus brief filed on behalf of Blumenauer and his Congressional colleagues, click here.

Blumenauer Announces Co-Chairs of Congressional Cannabis Caucus For 116th Congress

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), a leading advocate for cannabis policy reform and founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, today announced the launch of the Caucus for the 116th Congress. The Caucus leadership team includes Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), who will become the first woman of color to Co-Chair the Caucus; Representative Dave Joyce (R-OH), who newly joins the leadership team; and returning Co-Chair, Representative Don Young (R-AK-At-Large).

The bipartisan Caucus provides a forum for members of the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss, learn, and work together to establish a better and more rational approach to federal cannabis policy.

“The Cannabis Caucus was the first of its kind to create a forum for elected officials to collaborate on ways to address our outdated federal marijuana laws” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Congress is clearly out of step with the American people on cannabis when national support for federal marijuana legalization is at an all-time high and we saw several states move toward legalization last November.”

“Over the last decade, I’ve worked to build understanding and consensus on the need for reform and our movement is cresting. I’m looking forward to working alongside Reps. Lee, Joyce and Young to build on the bipartisan work we’ve done to end the senseless federal prohibition on marijuana once and for all.”

“For far too long, communities of color and women have been left out of the conversation on cannabis. I am committed to ensuring that marijuana reform goes hand-in-hand with criminal justice reform so we can repair some of the harm of the failed War on Drugs. We must also work to build an industry that is equitable and inclusive of the communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition,” said Rep. Lee.

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in leading the effort to implement responsible, commonsense cannabis policies,” said Rep. Joyce. “It is critical that we protect the rights of the states across the country, like Ohio, that have already done so at the state level. The federal government’s interference in this arena has stifled important medical research, interfered with doctors and patients making treatment decisions and harmed state-legal businesses. I look forward to working with Congressman Blumenauer, Congressman Young and Congresswoman Lee to advance sensible cannabis reforms that will benefit our nation’s veterans, patients, and businesses across the country.”

“Since the initial launch of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus we’ve seen an exponential growth in interest, legislation, and membership many would not have expected”, said Rep. Young. “The idea of States’ Rights has been a central tenet of this movement and one that I believe will ultimately carry the day. I encourage all Members to join us in this debate and explore the varying issues.”

“It’s good to be back with Representative Blumenauer, showing that bipartisanship can still shine. I’d also like to welcome Representatives Joyce and Lee as Co-Chairs of this important Caucus and I know they’ll be as asset. They follow in the footsteps of former Representatives Rohrabacher and Polis, who helped make this all possible with their long standing advocacy and dedication and we wish them the best.”

 

Oregon Rep. Blumenauer Campaign Ad Highlights Marijuana Reform

OREGON:  U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Portland, is talking about reforming federal marijuana laws in a series of campaign ads released Friday.

“Earl is passionate about these issues,” Blumenauer campaign manager Willie Smith said in a statement. “They are controversial for some, but these are things that are going to happen and it’s going to be because Earl has worked to educate people and bring them together.”

Blumenauer has been an outspoken advocate for marijuana reform this year.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzRjGtubbcA?list=PLWgO_qyMJotzYKWiqdYYwHzcs6o63R9wq]

Oregon Set To Shield Marijuana User Data From US Officials

By Kristena Hansen, Associated Press

OREGON: Oregon state lawmakers who fear heightened marijuana enforcement by federal agents overwhelmingly approved Monday a proposal to protect pot users from having their identities or cannabis-buying habits from being divulged by the shops that make buying pre-rolled joints and “magic” brownies as easy as grabbing a bottle of whiskey from the liquor store.

The bipartisan proposal would protect pot consumers by abolishing a common business practice in this Pacific Northwest state where marijuana shops often keep a digital paper trail of their recreational pot customers’ names, birthdates, addresses and other personal information. The data is gleaned from their driver’s licenses, passports or whatever other form of ID they present at the door to prove they’re at least 21 as required by law.

The data is often collected without customers’ consent or knowledge. It is stored away as proprietary information the businesses use mostly for marketing and customer service purposes, such as linking their driver’s license number with every pot product they buy so dispensary employees are better able to help out during their next visit.

The measure that passed 53-5 now heads to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, who is expected to sign it into law.
It would bring Oregon statutes in line with similar laws already in place in Alaska and Colorado and self-imposed industry standards in Washington state — the only other three U.S. states were where recreational cannabis is actively sold in shops to consumers of legal age.

“Given the immediate privacy issues … this is a good bill protecting the privacy of Oregonians choosing to purchase marijuana,” state Rep. Carl Wilson, a Republican who helped sponsor the bill, said before the final vote.
Upon the bill’s signing into law, Oregon pot retailers would have 30 days to destroy their customers’ data from their databases and would be banned from such record-keeping in the future. Recreational pot buyers could still choose, however, to sign up for dispensary email lists to get promotional coupons or birthday discounts. The bill’s provisions do not apply to medical marijuana patients.

Oregon’s move was one of the first major responses to mixed signals about President Donald Trump administration’s stance on the federal prohibition on marijuana, which is legal for recreational use in eight states plus Washington, D.C., and legal for medical purposes in more than half the country.

Worries began in late February when White House spokesman Sean Spicer first signaled a crackdown may loom on recreational cannabis. A few weeks later, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said medical cannabis has been “hyped, maybe too much” and is “only slightly less awful” than heroin. Trump, however, has previously suggested the marijuana issue should be up to the states.
Nonetheless, a federal crackdown could be problematic for states like Oregon where recreational and medical pot industries are closely linked. In Colorado, lawmakers are now considering a new pathway for pot growers and retailers to instantaneously reclassify their recreational weed as medical.

Last Monday, the governors of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington state asked for clarity about the Trump administration’s policy in a letter addressed to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose agencies took a low-priority approach to marijuana enforcement under President Barack Obama’s direction. Two days later, in a memo to more than 90 U.S. attorneys, Sessions said DOJ will look at marijuana as part of a broader crime-reduction policy review through mid-summer.

Congress, meanwhile, is gearing up for April 28, when funding for the federal government is set to expire along with its so-called Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which has blocked federal funds from being used to interfere with states’ medical cannabis laws since 2014.

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, says he and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, D-California, plan to push for the amendment’s renewal ahead of its expiration in two weeks.
“It’s pretty clear the (marijuana) prohibition has not worked,” Blumenauer told the Associated Press. “These questions are to be expected and they need to be dealt with, but it’s hard to envision going back.”

Got Bank? Election Could Ereate Flood Of Marijuana Cash With No Place To Go

By Lisa Lambert

Although the sale of marijuana is a federal crime, the number of U.S. banks working with pot businesses, now sanctioned in many states, is growing, up 45 percent in the last year alone.

Still, marijuana merchants say there are not nearly enough banks willing to take their cash. So many dispensaries resort to stashing cash in storage units, back offices and armored vans.

Proponents believe the Nov. 8 election could tip the balance in favor of liberalizing federal marijuana laws, a move seen as key to getting risk-averse banks off the sidelines.

Measures on ballots in California, Florida and seven other states would bring to 34 the number of states sanctioning pot for medical or recreational use, or both. That could push annual sales, by one estimate, to $23 billion.

The prospect for a market of such scale is adding urgency to calls for a national approach to marijuana that expands banking options. Law enforcement and Federal Reserve officials have expressed concern about the fraud and crime associated with un-bankable cash.

Nearly 600 dispensary robberies have been reported in Denver since recreational pot was legalized in Colorado three years ago.

“There’s not a single human being who thinks there is any benefit at all in forcing marijuana business to be conducted on an all-cash basis,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon who has called for the decriminalization of marijuana since coming to Congress in 1996.

 

Congressman Calls For DEA Chief’s Removal After He Calls Medical Marijuana A ‘Joke’

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said Wednesday that acting Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Rosenberg should be replaced after calling the notion of smoking marijuana for medical purposes a “joke.”

“Rosenberg is clearly not the right fit for the DEA in this administration,” Blumenauer said during a speech on the House floor Wednesday morning.

The acting agency chief made the comments to reporters earlier this month.

“What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal — because it’s not,” Rosenberg said. “We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don’t call it medicine — that is a joke.”

Blumenauer hit back at this notion during his floor speech.

“What is a joke is the job Rosenberg is doing as acting DEA administrator,” he said. “He’s an example of the inept, misinformed zealot who has mismanaged America’s failed policy of marijuana prohibition.”

Speakers: End Of Marijuana Prohibition A Matter Of Time

OREGON: U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer says the end is in sight for a national prohibition on marijuana that has lasted eight decades.

A retired California judge who was the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012 thinks the end could come within the next two years.

Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, and Judge Jim Gray offered their outlooks in separate appearances Saturday and Sunday at the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference at the Portland Hilton.

Blumenauer, who spoke Sept. 13, said he has already made a public bet broadcast in New Hampshire, which holds the nation’s first presidential primary. “In five years, we will have turned a corner. We will be treating marijuana as we do alcohol,” Blumenauer says. “States will do what they want, and the federal government will get out of the way.”

 

NCIA Lobby Days 2015 Recap

by Bethany Moore, NCIA Development Officer

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: While the cannabis industry and movement has grown at a phenomenal rate this last year, the body that governs our federal laws is notorious for moving at a glacial pace. Between the House of Representatives and the Senate, the future of our country is determined by the votes of more than 500 individuals representing the wishes of their constituents. This is why every year, the National Cannabis Industry Association descends upon Capitol Hill with dozens of our members to meet with these offices to explain the unfair burdens we’re facing, and how we’d like them to fix them.

 NCIA Lobby Days

The contingent of NCIA members participating in the cannabis industry’s Annual Lobby Days grows bigger and bigger each year. This year, NCIA hosted an educational Policy Symposium to kick off the Lobby Days. NCIA director of government relations, Michael Correia, provided training and insider tips for effective lobbying and navigating the House and Senate offices.

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The crowd lit up with smiles when Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton representing the District of Columbia entered the room, and spoke to us about her continued support for our issues, and the great need for the work we are doing to change marijuana laws. Attendees also enjoyed a fireside chat between Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, where they dug deep into the many layers of taxation policy and messaging cannabis industry issues on Capitol Hill.

Around 80 NCIA members gathered into small pre-organized groups, armed with folders containing talking points and one-pagers on our issues, and a whole lot of enthusiasm. Members split off and navigated around the Senate and House buildings, headed to meetings with Congressional offices and their staffers to describe the challenges they face due to the country’s outdated federal laws first hand.

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John Davis, owner of Northwest Patient Resource Center in Seattle, and vice-chair of NCIA’s board of directors, attended Lobby Days for his third consecutive year. “I really appreciated being able to talk to people that are on the front lines along with my business on the 280E tax provision. I am already knowledgeable on the subject but the NCIA Policy Symposium did not disappoint on the details.”

Also from Washington state, Eden Labs owner AC Braddock joined us for her third year of lobbying with NCIA. “In two days we got into over 100 offices and the difference in reception from last year was significant. Legislators were interested in what we had to say, our opinions on different legislation initiatives, and how 280E and banking restrictions were genuinely hindering legal businesses.” said Braddock. “This work has restored my faith in our government processes. It is truly empowering to be heard and sought after as a source of advice.”

On the second day, NCIA kicked off the formal lobbying with a press conference in front of the Capitol. We were joined by several of our industry-friendly allies in Congress. Several pieces of legislation were introduced in the weeks surrounding the Lobby Days event, including Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s (R-CA) “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015,” which effectively gets the Federal government out of the business of the states, thus allowing each state to determine its own destiny with regard to a regulated cannabis industry. During the NCIA press conference in D.C., Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Denny Heck (D-WA) re-introduced “The Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015” (H.R. 2076), which resolves the banking crisis facing cannabis businesses. This bill would provide a safe haven for banks to offer services to cannabis-related businesses without fear of risk of breaking money laundering laws.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) also introduced “The Small Business Tax Equity Act” (H.R. 1855 andS. 987) in both the House and Senate. The companion legislation would create an exception to Section 280E allowing state-compliant cannabis businesses to take normal business expense deductions like any other legal business. Rep. Blumenauer has introduced a similar bill in the House before, but this is the first time such legislation has been proposed in the Senate.

Even earlier this year in February, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced a comprehensive solution that would address the banking crisis, the 280E fiasco, and other problematic federal cannabis policies. The “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act” (H.R. 1013) would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act altogether, and allow states to set and enforce their own marijuana policies without federal interference, thus giving each state the freedom to choose its own approach to cannabis, and also removing the many unintended consequences of the current conflict between state and federal marijuana laws.

These bills, though introduced in their respective bodies of government, await being debated and passed through their initial committees before moving to the floor for a full vote.

“While full legalization may not happen for a while, the industry should not have punitive rules in states where is it legal,” noted Braddock. “It is up to our legislators to make the laws viable and effective, and it is up to us to help them understand what that looks like. That is why it is so important to get in front of them.”

The meetings were phenomenal. Starting the dialog with your elected officials opens up a relationship with them and more importantly their legislative aids. My contact list has become quite impressive since I joined NCIA.” said Davis. “This is a big part of why my organization is active in NCIA. Change is needed at the federal level as well as in state and localities. This is our chance to be effective in advancing the changes that are needed to make our industry work.”

National Cannabis Industry Association, a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade organization, would not be able to accomplish this work were it not for the active dedication, passion, and professionalism of its membership. With nearly 900 member businesses across the country, approximately 10% of our membership was represented in Washington D.C. this year, visiting more than half of the 535 total Congressional offices. Our goal next year? Visit with all 535…

 

Dem Predicts Pot Will Be Legal In Five Years

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: A Democratic lawmaker is predicting that the federal government will decriminalize marijuana within the next five years.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) tells The Hill that “the decriminalization train has left the station,” and marijuana will be removed as a Schedule I controlled substance — where it is currently listed alongside substances like heroin.

“I fully expect within the next five years that it will be rescheduled, or delisted and I think we will have a system where states around the country will be able to do what they want with marijuana and I think this is going to be all over within five years,” Blumenauer said in an on-camera interview.