Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who has played a major role in cannabis-related reform efforts in the USA, has announced he will not seek re-election.
“For fifty years, I have served in elected office at every level—as a State Legislator, Multnomah County Commissioner, Portland City Council member, and for 27 years as a member of Congress,” said Mr. Blumenauer. “It is a difficult decision. Particularly after the amazing success of the last several years. But simply said, it is time to continue my life’s mission without the burden of day-to-day politics.”
Part of that mission has been championing the fight to end the failed war on drugs, which included cannabis initiatives. For example, the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act sponsored by Congressman Blumenauer was signed into law by President Joe Biden late last year.
Among its actions, the Act’s intention was to streamline the application process for scientific marijuana studies and remove existing barriers for researchers that impede their work. This was the first standalone federal cannabis reform signed into law since the Controlled Substances Act was adopted and came into effect on May 1, 1971.
Congressman Blumenauer was also involved with House passage of the Veterans Equal Access Amendment, which sought to end the Department of Veteran Affairs prohibition on providers assisting veterans access state-legal medical cannabis. He has also been involved with “every state initiative” seeking to decriminalize cannabis.
Mr. Blumenauer also co-founded the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. Formed in 2017 during the 115th session, the bipartisan caucus serves to educate members of Congress on issues relating to federal cannabis policy initiatives and has authored the legislative blueprint for federal legalization.
But cannabis hasn’t been his only focus – the congressman’s work has also included helping to write the Affordable Care Act, efforts in food and farm policy, animal welfare, and the single largest investment in renewable energy in history.
Mr. Blumenauer isn’t quite ready to rest on his congressional laurels.
“There will be time later to reflect on our many accomplishments and where we go from here,” he said. “But I’m not done with Congress yet. There are 14 months left in this congressional session and a critical election. I will take every opportunity to make progress on the issues that matter most to our families and community.”