Legislation Introduced To Protect States’ Rights

Senators Cory Gardner [R-CO] and Elizabeth Warren [D-MA] introduced a bill into Congress Thursday that, if passed, would protect legal cannabis states from federal intervention and prosecution.

Representatives David Joyce [R-OH] and Earl Blumenauer [D-OR] also introduced a companion bill into the House.

“We should trust the people of the states, like Ohio, who have voted to implement responsible, common-sense regulations and requirements for the use, productions, and sale of cannabis,” said Joyce in a news release. “If the people of these states have decided to provide help for those veterans and others suffering from pain and other health issues, we should allow them access without government interference.”

Also known as the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018, the measure exempts states, U.S. territories, and Native American tribes with cannabis laws on the books, or those wishing to enact them, from the scheduling restrictions of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

While medical and adult-use states would be protected, the federal government would still be able to intervene in cases of interstate marijuana trafficking, unsafe conditions, and underage purchases and employment in the cannabis industry.

“The STATES Act retains important federal protections to promote the responsible use of marijuana by adults,” wrote NORML in a letter to Gardner and Warren. “We also support the STATES Act’s inclusion of language removing industrial hemp from the CSA.

In addition to giving states more freedom to enact marijuana laws that are aligned with the will of the voters, the STATES Act also addresses the current financial issues of the cash-based cannabis industry by stating that any transaction conducted in compliance with the Act and state regulations will not be considered unlawful.