H.R. 420 – The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act - A California Attorney Weighs In

H.R. 420 – The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act - A California Attorney Weighs In

HR 420 - THe Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act


H.R. 420 is a piece of legislation introduced to Congress by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) who currently is the co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. H.R. 420 is one of three stand-alone cannabis oriented pieces of legislation introduced to the 116th Congress who started their term on January 3, 2019.


HR420 Would Competely Deschedule Cannabis


 H.R. 420 is titled “The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2019”. It is written to completely ‘deschedule’ cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. This will effectively change Federal public cannabis policy to permit state governments to regulate commercial cannabis activities as they see fit. Further, cannabis would be removed from the US Drug Enforcement Administration sphere of enforcement. H.R. 420 moves enforcement of Federal cannabis policy to the renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Marijuana, Tobacco, and Explosives. Additionally, a renamed Alcohol, Tobacco, and Marijuana Tax and Trade Bureau within the Department of the Treasury and the Food and Drug Administration would both be imbued with authority to regulate cannabis as they do with alcohol.


HR 420 Would Allow a Regulated Interstate Market


H.R. 420 would open up interstate commerce between states that have allowed commercial cannabis markets. Shipping or transporting cannabis to states that have not legalized commercial cannabis markets would be prohibited.



HR 420 Could Open the Flood Gates for Corporate Takeovers


H.R. 420 and the previous bills before that tried to end Federal cannabis prohibition are signals of what is to come. It is only a matter of time before Federal prohibition ends. Financial investors and big corporate money are rubbing their hands together waiting for the end of Federal prohibition. No longer will shareholders be able to whine about the possible seizure of property by the Federal government for simply investing in state sanctioned cannabis businesses. The past corporate take-overs within in the cannabis industry will be completely overshadowed by those that come after Federal prohibition evaporates.


The California Effect


With interstate commerce, cannabis is going to be placed into a market system that will hold traditional stigmas and exciting lip-licking opportunities. California will have a major effect and influence on the national commercial cannabis market. California currently is trying to meet the demands for its own regulated market, but that doesn’t mean it won’t waste time entering the national market. California will surely flood the national cannabis market with high quality, low price cannabis that will undoubtedly be felt across the nation in both the regulated and underground commercial cannabis markets.


With Federal prohibition ending and commercial cannabis expanding, cannabis lobbyists will begin to find lucrative careers in the open field of cannabis politics. Interstate commerce will motivate establishment lobby groups to market themselves as Washington insiders for a new cannabis market. Flooding politicians with corporate cannabis money in exchange for broader and loser cannabis regulations and lower commercial cannabis taxes will be very lucrative for any Federal lobbyist.


The best hope for ending prohibition in 2019


H.R. 420 is the best hope that cannabis has had to end Federal prohibition. Cannabis is now a bipartisan issue with a vast majority of the U.S. states embracing medical cannabis and many more embracing adult-use commercial cannabis. The vast majority of American voters have expressed disdain for current Federal cannabis public policy. Mitch McConnell has embraced industrialized hemp for his home state, while John Boehner retired as Speaker of the House of Representatives last year to join an advisory board for a national cannabis company that cultivates, processes, and dispenses cannabis in 11 U.S. states.


Currently, H.R. 420 has been officially introduced to the House for consideration. And, coast to coast, cannabis advocates are laughing, with their fingers crossed for success, at the shout out to cannabis culture in the bill’s name. After all, 420 has long been the not-so-secret code for pot smoking in progress.

Tags: HR 420 Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act Dominic Ripoli 116th Congress Regulations Federal Prohibition Interstate Commerce

About the author

Dominic is an Associate at Wood, Smith, Henning, and Berman, LLP and Chair of the Cannabis Law Section at Alameda County Bar Association.

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