Bipartisan STATES Act Reintroduced, Would Limit Federal Government’s Ability To Interfere State-Legal Marijuana Businesses

The STATES Act, which would protect marijuana businesses which are legal under their state’s law, has been reintroduced in the United States Congress.,

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), along with Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), have reintroduced The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2019, reports NORML. This Act amends the Controlled Substances Act to reduce the number of instances in which federal law enforcement agencies could carry out legal actions against state-licensed cannabis businesses or other related enterprises.

“The majority of states now regulate either the medical use or the adult use of marijuana. It is time for the federal government to cease standing in the way of these voter-backed regulatory policies being implemented throughout the country,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “Ultimately, however, we must remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act entirely in order to allow those in legal states to ultimately be free from undue federal discrimination and the fear of federal prosecution.”

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said: “Forty-seven states have legalized some form of cannabis and the majority of Americans support its legalization. Our outdated laws have ruined lives, devastated communities, and wasted resources for critical medical treatment and research. The STATES Act is the next logical step in a comprehensive blueprint for more rational federal cannabis policy. It’s time for Congress to catch up with the rest of America are and fix a badly broken system.”

Said Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH): “The current federal policy interferes with the ability of states to implement their own cannabis laws, and the resulting system has stifled important medical research, hurt legitimate businesses and diverted critical law enforcement resources needed elsewhere. It’s past time for Congress to clarify cannabis policy on the federal level and ensure states are free to make their own decisions in the best interest of their constituents. The STATES Act does just that by respecting the will of the states that have legalized cannabis in some form and allowing them to implement their own policies without fear of repercussion from the federal government.”

The STATES Act joins multiple bills have been filed to amend the Controlled Substances Act to restrict federal enforcement actions against state-legal marijuana businesses.

They include:

HR 493: The Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act, introduced by Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA).

HR 1455: The REFER Act (Restraining Excessive Federal Enforcement & Regulations of Cannabis Act), introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA).

HR 2012: The Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act, introduced by Congresswoman Diane DeGette (D-CO).

Supporters of cannabis reform can contact their lawmakers regarding these bills via the NORML Action Center HERE.

According to the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report, police made 659,700 arrests for marijuana-related violations in 2017. That total is more than 21 percent higher than the total number of persons arrests for the commission of violent crimes (518,617) in 2017, states NORML. Of those arrested for marijuana crimes, just under 91 percent (599,000) were arrested for marijuana possession offenses, a slight increase over last year’s annual totals. Total marijuana arrests in 2017 increased for the second straight year, after having fallen for nearly a decade.

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