Barbara Lee Named Co-Chair of Cannabis Caucus
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) was named Co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus on Wednesday -- making her the first woman and person of color to chair the Caucus. She will serve alongside Congressman David Joyce (R-OH). The bipartisan Caucus was formed in 2017 by former CA Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher,Congressman Don Young (R-AR), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and former CO Democratic Congressman Jared Polis. The goal of the Caucus is to harmonize federal laws that prohibit medical and recreational cannabis use with state laws that permit it. Nearly 98% of Americans live in states or territories that allow some degree of legal access to medical marijuana or cannabis derivatives and a quarter of Americans live in a states that have legalized adult use of marijuana. Lee is well-suited for the post. She introduced the Marijuana Justice Act in 2017 with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to reform unjust marijuana laws and empower communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the failed war on drugs. She also authored the REFER Act last year, to prohibit federal funding for DOJ interference in states that have decriminalized cannabis. And the RESPECT resolution, which Lee introduced, encourages racial equity in the legal cannabis industry. “I am thrilled to serve as co-chair of the Cannabis Caucus and continue the work of reforming our outdated and discriminatory marijuana laws,” said Lee. “For far too long, communities of color and women have been left out of the conversation on cannabis. I am committed to ensuring that marijuana reform goes hand-in-hand with criminal justice reform so we can repair some of the harm of the failed War on Drugs. We must also work to build an industry that is equitable and inclusive of the communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition.” More here.