Another marijuana reform bill has been introduced in the House of Represenatives, this one by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn).
The "National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy Act" would create a study group much like the Shafer Commission, which Congress created in the early 1970s, and then ignored, after committee members recommended the decriminalization of marijuana.
According to his website, the commission Cohen is proposing would study the following issues:
- How federal laws should be reconciled with state marijuana laws;
- The cost of marijuana prohibition and potential regulation of marijuana, as well as the potential revenue generated by taxation of marijuana;
- The impact of federal banking and tax laws on businesses operating in compliance with state marijuana laws;
- The health impacts, both benefits and risks, related to marijuana use, and in comparison to alcohol and tobacco use;
- The domestic and international public safety effects of marijuana prohibition and potential regulation of marijuana;
- The impact of marijuana prohibition on criminal justice, including any racial disparities, and the collateral consequences of prosecution for marijuana possession, including lack of access to housing, education, and employment;
- The appropriate placement of marijuana in the schedule of the Controlled Substances Act; and
- The effects of marijuana prohibition or future regulation and control of marijuana on international relationships and treaty obligations.
According to the Marijuana Policy Project, "the commission would consist of 13 members: five appointed by the president; two appointed by the Speaker of the House; two appointed by the House minority leader; two appointed by the Senate majority leader; and two appointed by the Senate minority leader."
Cohen's bill is the fourth piece of marijuana reform legislation introduced in the House since November 2012, when Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana. In order of introduction, the other three bills are the Marijuana Tax Equity Act, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, and the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act.