"I think it's game over in less than five years."
That's what Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer told the Huffington Post recently, referring to what he sees as the inevitable victory of those on the side of marijuana legalization.
"There's no question that we're likely to see another state or two this year legalizing [recreational] use," he continued. "We're going to see more medical marijuana progress. The crazy prohibitions on bank services and probably the tax disparities -- these are all eroding."
While Blumenauer is confident of ultimate victory, however, the congressman has still been working to make his vision become reality. According to HuffPo, Blumenauer has sponsored three separate bills to ease the transition from a prohibitionist legal framework vis-à-vis pot to one better suited to an era of increasing legalization.
As an example of that ongoing shift, Blumenauer points to the recently passed farm bill, which, among other things, legalized industrial hemp production, provided it was for research purposes, in the 12 states that already permit it.
"Part of what is going on with the hemp discussion is that people are seeing through the nonsense that somehow this is cover for surreptitious marijuana production, conflating industrial hemp with marijuana," Blumenauer told HuffPo. "And throughout the whole marijuana issue debate, there are numerous flat-out falsehoods. Schedule I drug? No therapeutic use? Worse than cocaine and meth? I mean, wait a minute.
"But the hemp one, that was so blatant and so obvious," Blumenauer went on. "And that is what's changing the whole marijuana landscape, is that all the falsehoods, misrepresentations and misclassification that have been basically sanctioned by inertia no longer work. And hemp is the best example of that."
[M]ore than a dozen members of Congress, including Blumenauer, have sponsored legislation aimed at reforming federal marijuana laws. Blumenauer himself has sponsored three bills -- States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection (H.R. 689), Marijuana Tax Equity Act (H.R. 501) and the Small Business Tax Equity Act (H.R. 2240) -- and has supported several other bills seeking everything from increased banking access for pot businesses to a complete end to federal marijuana prohibition.
It's already possible to observe significant shifts in federal policy toward pot. The federal government allowed Colorado and Washington's laws to take effect last year. The FDA recently green-lit a clinical trial that will study the safety and efficacy of cannabidiol in children with severe epilepsy. And just this month, the Department of Health and Human Services approved a long-delayed study looking at marijuana's effect on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.