"Thank you for contacting my office in regards to the legalization of marijuana. I appreciate having the benefit of your thoughts.
As you know, marijuana currently is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Schedule I drugs are classified as having 1) a high potential for abuse, 2) no currently accepted medical use for treatment in the United States, and 3) a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision. Therefore, the federal government prohibits the manufacture, distribution, dispensation, and possession of marijuana. However, over the last few decades, states have deviated from an across-the-board prohibition of marijuana.
While drug-related investigations and prosecutions remain a priority for federal law enforcement, the Obama Administration suggested that efforts should be harnessed against large-scale trafficking organizations, rather than on recreational users of marijuana. In an August 2013 memorandum, Deputy Attorney General James Cole stated that while marijuana remains an illegal substance under the CSA, the Department of Justice (DOJ) would focus its resources on the "most significant threats in the most effective, consistent, and rational way." Furthermore, the DOJ currently exercises non-enforcement of federal laws surrounding marijuana in states that have legalized the substance, except in certain circumstances. The memo outlined eight enforcement priorities including: preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, and preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law into other states. As the Trump Administration continues to build on its agenda, questions have been raised regarding whether the administration will rescind this memorandum.
On February 27, 2017, Representative Thomas Garrett (R-VA) introduced H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. This legislation would also amend the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act to eliminate marijuana as a controlled substance. H.R. 1227 would prohibit the shipping or transporting or marijuana interstate or from any foreign country to states where its possession, use, or sale is prohibited. H.R. 1227 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as the House Judiciary Committee, where it awaits action. While I do not sit on these committees, please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind should the legislation come to the House floor for a vote.
Thank you again for contacting my office. It is an honor to serve as your United States Congressman. Your suggestions are always welcome, and if ever I may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to call me. - Patrick McHenry
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" Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding the legalization of marijuana. I appreciate you taking the time to contact me and welcome the opportunity to respond.
Proposals to legalize marijuana should not be taken lightly. I understand that many individuals believe marijuana use is benign. The fact remains, however, that marijuana use can result in adverse health consequences, particularly among adolescents. It goes without saying that a product which has adverse psychological and physiological impacts on its user can ultimately harm third parties. For me, it is crucial that we continue to educate ourselves on all the short-term and long-term consequences of marijuana use before we consider unrestricted legalization of the drug. It is my goal to pursue policies that protect our nation’s youth from the dangerous consequences of illegal drug use and help produce productive and responsible members of society.
As you may know, I am a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and this issue will likely be discussed this Congress. If this issue comes before the Judiciary Committee or the full Senate, I will carefully consider everything you have said in making a decision on what is best for North Carolina and the country.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. It is important for elected officials to hear directly from citizens on issues that affect the state and the nation. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me again about other important issues."
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