Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has introduced a bill that would protect cannabis industry members following their state’s laws against threats of federal prosecution.
As the cannabis community worries about the direction federal authorities will take on regulation, a Republican congressman from California is trying to quell those fears.
With 28 states (and Washington D.C.) having legalized the medical use of cannabis and an additional eight states legalizing recreational use, many are worried about a potential large-scale disruption within the industry should federal authorities revert back to targeting business owners.
President Donald Trump has not commented on cannabis reform since taking office. His selection of the recently confirmed United States Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has provided angst within the cannabis community. Sessions has been vocal about his anti-legalization views. As we mentioned earlier this week, little is known regarding the views of Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee for the vacant U.S. Supreme Court post. Some fear he could be the domino that tips the scale of the high court against cannabis reform.
If enacted, Rohrabacher’s Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 17 would effectively end the legal conflict between federal and state cannabis policy, placing state law above federal as long as individuals follow their state’s laws. Activists have long hoped that a pro states’ rights argument would find a captive audience among GOP members in congress.
“This is commonsense legislation that is long overdue,” Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a press release. “It is time to end marijuana prohibition at the federal level and give states the authority to determine their own policies.”
“States throughout the country are effectively regulating and controlling marijuana medical or broader adult use,” Capecchi said. “Federal tax dollars should not be wasted on arresting and prosecuting people who are following their state and local laws.”