Earlier this week Alaskan Congressman Don Young announced, in a press release, that he’s joining a growing list of bipartisan sponsors who support H.R. 1523, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013. The measure would explicitly protect marijuana consumers and businesses from federal prosecution if they’re following state law, such as in Colorado and Washington where recreational marijuana retail sales were recently legalized. The measure would effectively put an end to the U.S. government’s prohibition on marijuana – it would be up to the states to decide their marijuana laws.
Congressman Young’s sponsorship of the bill comes just a few weeks after an initiative drive was announced in his state of Alaska, which would legalize the possession and state-licensed retail sales of cannabis to adults 21 and older. Young’s support also comes not long after recent polling has indicated that not only does 52% of Americans support legalization, over 60% feel that the federal government should leave states alone that decide to take the approach of legalizing marijuana. The polling also found that 72% believe that the government’s war on marijuana costs more than it’s worth.
As the measure continues to gain support and momentum, constituents should continue to urge their elected lawmakers towards supporting this measure.