It is past time to heed the lessons of Prohibition and decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. After decades of focusing enormous resources on criminalization, the national conversation about marijuana has finally begun to change. The federal criminalization of marijuana has done more damage than good – ruining lives through mass incarceration (which disproportionately impacts communities of color), establishing a huge, dysfunctional black-market economy and straining limited federal enforcement and judicial resources. I am a cosponsor of several bills to decriminalize cannabis, provide access to banking services, and protect states like California that are now regulating marijuana for adult recreational use.
As we move toward more rational marijuana policies at the national level, it’s important that we address the immediate threats to our environment and public safety posed by trespass growing operations and other harmful practices. Throughout my district and increasingly throughout the United States, we’re seeing trespass marijuana grows threatening endangered wildlife, contaminating fragile salmon streams, and making forests unsafe for work and recreation. That’s why I introduced the Protecting Lands Against Narcotics Trafficking Act to establish new penalties for environmental damages caused by the illegal cultivation of marijuana on public lands.
In the 115th Congress, I introduced the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act. This legislation would restore lands impaired by illegal marijuana growing operations. This bill incorporates community input from public listening sessions and stakeholder meetings on the North Coast.