Oregon lawmakers want full-blown marijuana legalization after reclassification win

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is poised to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, some Oregon lawmakers are celebrating while also calling for even more to be done in terms of legalization.

According to Associated Press sources, the DEA will move to change marijuana’s classification from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug. This would help break down barriers for research, as well as potentially help marijuana businesses thrive.

However, the move does not represent outright legalization, which many are still advocating. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Sen. Ron Wyden, both Oregon Democrats, are backing just that in their respective Legislative bodies.

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Bluemenauer, a long-time advocate for marijuana legalization for decades, said he thinks the U.S. policy needs to end the hybridization of state and federal rules of the current system.

“While it helps on research, while it takes care of the tax problem, it doesn’t automatically take care of banking,” Blumenauer told KOIN 6 News. “There’s still too many hoops to jump through. Making it clear that this is going to be the policy to deschedule, it’s going to smooth the policy going forward.”

Blumenauer said he hopes the rule change will lead to enough holdouts reversing course for the Safer Banking Act to pass, which would deschedule marijuana and remove banking restrictions on dispensaries nationwide. Meanwhile, Wyden is joining an effort in the Senate for marijuana legalization.

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“After decades of the federal government being dug in on prohibition, moving cannabis to Schedule III would be a huge shift in policy and signal to the American people that the days of reefer madness are coming to an end,” Wyden said in a statement. “Medical research will open up and legal small businesses will no longer be treated unjustly like criminals under the inequitable 280E tax provision – a provision I’ve been working for years to repeal. I’m not going to let today’s news slow this movement down, because there’s more to be done to rectify the harms of the failed War on Drugs. Cannabis should ultimately be descheduled with strong federal regulations put in place to protect public health and safety. Leader Schumer, Senator Booker and I have just the bill to do it.”

According to Senate Democrats’ website, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act — sponsored by Wyden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Cory Booker — is a comprehensive bill that would decriminalize, regulate and tax cannabis.

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