If you happen to have three hours to kill you might want to stream the first Congressional cannabis hearings of the New Year. There will be a lot of jokes made this year about the “new vision in 2020” but no one will make that joke after seeing these hearings. Hindsight is not 20/20 when it comes to the federal policy towards marijuana.
The purpose of the hearings was to set “Cannabis Policies for the New Decade”. Lawmakers, like the general public in the U.S., are frustrated with the continuing classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug. And so, once again, the Congressional Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health summoned federal officials to Capitol Hill and inquired as to how those plans were going to loosen up research with cannabis. You might recall that DEA officials promised Congress four years ago that it would expand the number of licensed cannabis cultivators so that researchers could have easier access to cannabis. So, how many cultivators are there today? Still only one, the infamous University of Mississippi contract that has held a monopoly for at least half a century.
Rest assured, the DEA representative promised Congress that it is “actively” working on legislation that would pave the way for additional cultivation sites. “We actually have a draft regulation in place,” he said, noting there would need to be a comment period and then, of course, there may be some re-write and then it would go to Congress and on and on.
In the immortal words of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivor Emma Gonzalez, “I call BS!” The DEA really should get the award for “Best Feet Dragging Agency” in the U.S. government. I have seen this time and time again. Federal drug agencies sit through three hours of questioning and return to their cubicles to once again apply a little more pressure on the brakes of reform.
So, if you have never seen a Congressional hearing before I can recommend the “Cannabis Policies for the New Decade” as a great lesson teacher in the art of government obstruction of the will of the people. If you have seen it before my advice is curl up with a good book or stream a movie instead because you’ll get more from either one of those than you will from these hearings. ❖