The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) approved a resolution Thursday urging the federal government to allow states to determine their own cannabis policies. It was supported by a majority of participating legislators in each of 75% of the states represented at the conference’s general business meeting.
The preamble to the resolution, introduced by New Hampshire State Representative Renny Cushing, notes that “states are increasingly serving as laboratories for democracy by adopting a variety of policies regarding marijuana and hemp,” and it highlights the fact that “the federal government cannot force a state to criminalize cultivating, possessing, or distributing marijuana or hemp — whether for medical, recreational, industrial, or other uses — because doing so would constitute unconstitutional commandeering.”
The full resolution, which can be found by clicking here, states:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Conference of State Legislatures believes that federal laws, including the Controlled Substances Act, should be amended to explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference and urges the administration not to undermine state marijuana and hemp policies.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Conference of State Legislatures recognizes that its members have differing views on how to treat marijuana and hemp in their states and believes that states and localities should be able to set whatever marijuana and hemp policies work best to improve the public safety, health, and economic development of their communities.
“State lawmakers just sent a message to Congress that could not be any clearer,” says Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “It’s time to end the federal prohibition of marijuana and let the states decide what policies work best for them.”
The NCLS was formed in 1975, and consists of state legislators and their staff.