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Respect State Marijuana Laws Act Introduced To Congress

Several members of the House of Representatives introduced the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act” in Congress last Friday, April 12th. This act could have a serious impact on the MMJ industry.

Late last year on November 18th, legislators including Polis and Blumenauer wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart encouraging them to respect the recreational laws in Colorado and Washington. This was after Polis’s showdown with Leonhart in June, where the DEA administrator refused to admit that marijuana is less harmful than crack, methamphetamines, heroine, and prescription pills. All she has to say is, “all illegal drugs are bad.” Fail, Miss Leonhart. Fail.

Feds Will Respect Recreational & MMJ Laws

US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and an awkward team of two ultra conservative Republicans and three Democrats backed House Bill 1523, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act.

Part G of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) will be amended by adding the following section to the end:

  • Sec. 710. RULE REGARDING APPLICATION TO MARIHUANA: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the pro- visions of this sub-chapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.’’

The legislation will cover both medical marijuana and recreational use, as well as protect the businesses that surround the cultivation, processing or distribution of cannabis as well.

“It will still be left to the states to enact their own legislation, and this bill will not protect anyone in a state without an existing MMJ or recreational laws.”

Democratic co-sponsors for the bill included Earl Blumenauer from Oregon, Steve Cohen of Tennessee, and Jared Polis from Colorado, while Reps. Justin Amash from Michigan and Don Young from Alaska joined Rohrabacher on the Republican side of support.

According to the Rolling Stone, Justin Amash was recently “purged” from the Republican House Budget Committee for being “too conservative,” while Rep. Don Young was more recently in the news for recalling his father employing “wetbacks” on the family farm.

So what is it about this bill that caused it to gain support from these “arch-conservative backers” in the House?

Earl Blumenauer told the Huffington Post that he believes this bill ended up being bi-partisan because it “represents a common-sense approach that establishes federal government respect for all states’ marijuana laws. It does so by keeping the federal government out of the business of criminalizing marijuana activities in states that don’t want it to be criminal.”

“Marijuana Prohibition Is On Its Last Legs”

The national political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, Steve Fox, commented on the bill to the Huffington Post, “Marijuana prohibition is on its last legs because most Americans no longer support it… This legislation presents a perfect opportunity for members to embrace the notion that states should be able to devise systems for regulating marijuana without their citizens having to worry about breaking federal law.”

Fox is right, a recent Pew Research Center survey found that 52% of Americans favor legalization, while sixty percent of Americans believe that the federal government should not interfere with state marijuana laws. It seems to be only a matter of time before one of the pending marijuana law reform bills is passed by Congress.


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