Guest Post: Congressman Denny Heck

In a presidential election year, very little happens in Congress, so we will have to wait at least one more year for the major long-term solutions the lDennyHeck_headshotegal marijuana industry needs and deserves. However, we are making incremental progress, and I want to update you on a couple of developments on that front.

Two years ago, we made history by succeeding in adopting two legalization amendments to House appropriations bills. I was very proud to be the lead sponsor of one of those two – the Heck amendment barred financial regulators from taking action against banks and credit unions for serving marijuana-related business. In addition, we passed a Rohrabacher amendment that barred the Department of Justice from taking action against state-regulated marijuana businesses.

This year, we have support in the Senate as well. A version of the Heck Amendment passed the Senate Appropriations Committee last week, and an amendment allowing VA doctors to write medical prescriptions has already passed both chambers. I have offered the Heck Amendment again, and I am optimistic that it will pass by an even larger margin if Speaker Ryan allows a vote. We have sign after sign that we are making steady progress.

Appropriations amendments are excellent for showing that we have support from a majority of the House and Senate, but they are a bad way to make policy. They are only effective for one year, and their reach is limited. For long-term change, we need to pass new laws, and for that we keep demonstrating how widespread support is.

I am optimistic about the result of measures on the ballot in Maine, Nevada, and California (a state with 1/8 of the country’s population), and I am encouraged by efforts by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to legalize marijuana in our neighbor to the north.

As our state demonstrates to these other states and nations, we can responsibly regulate marijuana just like we do alcohol. With more states pursuing legalization of cannabis, Congress and the federal government will have to update the law in order to avoid continued regulatory conflict. Your stories and policy recommendations will continue to be important elements of any successful effort to appropriately update the law to fit the existing demands of the legal and regulated marijuana markets. Keep up the advocacy and keep sharing how federal regulations get in the way of responsible business practices.

Share this post:

Comments on "Guest Post: Congressman Denny Heck"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment