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A bill has been filed to decriminalize and regulate marijuana — and it’s called H.R. 420

Representative Earl Blumenauer, Democrat of Oregon, cochairs the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.
Representative Earl Blumenauer, Democrat of Oregon, cochairs the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.(Steve Dykes/Associated Press/File 2018)

A bill that would federally decriminalize marijuana and create a system for regulating marijuana products has been filed in Congress with a rather fitting name: H.R. 420.

Named for the number 420 — fondly celebrated as a symbol of marijuana consumption — the bill was filed in the US House on Wednesday by Representative Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat who founded and cochairs the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

The legislation is dubbed the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act,” and it promises to do just that, if signed into law. It would first remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. The bill then provides a variety of regulations for licensing and regulating marijuana products and companies.

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Under H.R. 420, the Food and Drug Administration “shall have the same authorities with respect to marijuana as the Administration has with respect to alcohol.”

The regulation of marijuana would transfer from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives — and the name of that agency would be altered to include marijuana.

Blumenauer, who has been vocal in pushing for marijuana reform nationwide, said the bill is intended to amend laws that have become “out of touch.” Last year, Blumenauer wrote a memorandum to House Democratic leadership, outlining the timeline necessary to legalize marijuana by the end of 2019.

“While the bill number may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, the issue is very serious. Our federal marijuana laws are outdated, out of touch and have negatively impacted countless lives,” Blumenauer said in a statement. “Congress cannot continue to be out of touch with a movement that a growing majority of Americans support. It’s time to end this senseless prohibition.”

Read the full bill here (and if you’re on mobile, click here):


Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.

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