02.09.2017
policy

GOP Congressman Introduces National Bill to Protect Legal Pot States

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) makes sure it's another wild week for weed!

A piece of legislation that would prohibit federal prosecution of cannabis consumers and medical marijuana patients who purchase, possess, and consume in compliance with state marijuana laws was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) on Tuesday. The bill, titled “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,” would be an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

From a speech given to the House of Representatives Tuesday, Rohrabacher makes a case for the bill:

“My bill, which has not received a designation yet but is entitled the `Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ will permit residents to participate within the confines of a State's medical and recreational marijuana program without running afoul of Federal law. Under my proposal, if a resident or business acts outside the boundaries set by a particular State, or if a State has chosen not to allow medical or recreational use of marijuana by their residents, the Federal Government would still be empowered to enforce Federal law in those instances. If that is what the people of the State want––it to be legal––the Federal Government can still get involved.”

In his speech, Rohrabacher makes reference to President Trump’s campaign-trail assertions that marijuana governance should be left up to the states. And his bill, which has been proposed twice previously, would address issues felt seemingly industry-wide: Banking, acquiring or renting real estate, paying taxes, research barriers, and the racial and socioeconomic inequity of drug-related arrest rates.

“Statistics show that affluent citizens are just as likely to grow, sell, and use marijuana illegally as poor citizens. The sad difference between these two, however, is that the poorest among us are somehow unable to avoid prison time for similar offenses.”

Rohrabacher's bill doesn't end the drug war, or strip the federal government of its authority to send weed-smokers to jail. But it is certainly a start, or it would be if it were to reach the House floor, muster a passing vote, and if that acceptance where echoed in the Senate and signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Prospects for the "Respect State Marijuana Laws Act" might be a little brighter if President Trump's selection for Attorney General, marijuana foe Jeff Sessions, had not been confirmed as the leader of America's awesome, vast, and relatively autonomous law-enforcement apparatus on the day after Rohrabacher's bill was introduced.

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