The House Judiciary Committee is warming to the idea of federal cannabis reform.
Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee's new Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) let it slip that the committee could be discussing marijuana reform sooner rather than later.
Before the proceedings for Tuesday's meeting began, Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) - a fellow Judiciary Committee member and noted cannabis legalization supporter - congratulated Nadler on his appointment and lamented that the committee wasn't yet dealing with cannabis reform.
"I had hoped that at one of our initial meetings we would have been giving powers back to the states in the form of removing cannabis from the list of Schedule I drugs," Gaetz told Nadler, referring to the Controlled Substances Act, which defines cannabis as a substance that has no medical use and is as dangerous as heroin.
"I'll also note that with some of the new additions on the Republican side, I think the committee would be very favorable" to marijuana reform, Gaetz added. "If we were any more favorable, we might have to start our meetings with the Grateful Dead."
That's when Nadler told Geatz that he wouldn't have to hold his breath for the committee to address cannabis policy.
"Let me just observe on your time that we may be discussing that fairly soon," the chairman responded.
Nadler himself has voiced his support for marijuana legalization in the past and will no doubt be a strong ally to the movement in his new position.
"It's no secret that Chairman Nadler is a supporter of comprehensive reform that would end the cruel policy of federal criminalization, having previously cosponsored legislation to do so," Justin Strekal - Political Director for NORML - told Marijuana Moment. "Mr. Nadler has always been receptive to his constituents and deriving evidence-based solutions, so we are looking forward to working with him and the whole Judiciary Committee to advance legislation in this Congress."
The House Judiciary Committee is responsible for oversight of various federal agencies including the FDA, and has some legitimate sway in the way marijuana is policed under federal law. On top of that, there are also cannabis-friendly lawmakers on the House Rules Committee (formerly the place where cannabis legislation went to die). So it looks like America is inching closer toward marijuana reform.