Bill That Requires Federal Study on Impact of Marijuana Legalization Introduced

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require a federal study on the impact of bud legalization and prohibition. Gabbard was joined with a bipartisan group of over a dozen Representatives who have signed on as cosponsors of the bill.

The Marijuana Data Collection Act would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to work with state and federal government agencies to gather data about “the ramifications of State legalized marijuana programs on the market, public health, criminal justice and employment,” according to Forbes.

In a media conference, Gabbard said that for too long drug policy was formulated without sound information on its impact on individuals and resources.

“For decades, poor data and misinformation have fueled the failed war on drugs which ’s wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, incarcerating Americans for nonviolent marijuana charges,” Gabbard said.

“Our aged marijuana policies have turned everyday Americans into criminals, strained our criminal justice system, cost taxpayers tremendously and torn families apart. Our federal policies should be based on real science and fact, not lost stigma and outdated myths,” she added.

So far, only Representatives who have demonstrated a willingness to reform cannabis laws have signed on as cosponsors. Justin Strekal, the political manager for NORML, said that lawmakers who oppose cannabis should also support the measure.

“this isn’t a marijuana bill, it’s an information bill,” Strekal stated. Our public policy has to be based on sound science and data, not gut feelings or fear-mongering. Approving the Marijuana Data Collection Act would provide legislators with reliable and fact-based information to help them determine what direction is most beneficial to society in regards to marijuana policy. ”

Gabbard’s bill calls for data on several specific cannabis-related issues to be collected. The financial advantage of legalization on authorities, such as taxes and other revenues would be determined. How the funds are used and their impact on state budgets would also be monitored.

The impact of legalized weed on labour would also be researched under the bill. The number of jobs directly and indirectly created by the cannabis industry would be determined, in addition to forecasts for future employment figures.

Researchers would also study the use of medicinal cannabis, such as by population groups which have youth, senior citizens, the handicapped, and military veterans. The conditions being treated by medical marijuana patients would also be studied.

The impact of cannabis policy on criminal justice would also be studied. Data on marijuana arrests and convictions for different population groups would be determined. The costs of marijuana prohibition including police, prosecution, and incarceration are tallied. Data on federal defendants who cited compliance with state cannabis laws as a defense would be also be studied.

The bill also calls for a review of the use and abuse of opioids and the toll addiction to the painkillers is taking on public health.

Bill Requires Regular Reports

The academy would be required to submit its first report within 18 months. The bill also calls for follow-up reports to be published every two years after that.

Published at Tue, 24 Jul 2018 21:26:44 +0000

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