Gabbard Urges Federal Marijuana DecriminalizationMay 17, 2017, 3:20 PM HST (Updated May 17, 2017, 3:21 PM)
Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaiʻi joined Rep. Tom Garrett (VA-05) in a press conference today, urging Congress to pass H.R.1227, 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. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Our archaic Federal laws relating to marijuana 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.”
She also noted the opioid addiction epidemic continues to spread across the country and 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. This bill is a bipartisan effort that will be a great step forward in solving many of the fiscal and social challenges that our current policy is causing, and I urge my colleagues to support the passage of this bill,” Rep. Gabbard continued.
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 says 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. Rep. Gabbard has also supported legislation like the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to support the cultivation of industrial hemp in Hawaiʻi and nationwide.