Legislative Approval of Marijuana
New bi-partisan legislation could protect the California cannabis industry from federal crackdowns. Thursday a bill was introduced in both the US House and Senate by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). As a response to the threatening stance the Trump Administration, specifically U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has taken against marijuana, this bill allows states to regulate marijuana without federal interference.
Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act of 2018, STATES for short, would exempt individuals in compliance with state marijuana laws from certain provisions of the federal Controlled Substances Act provided the state complies with a set of new federal guidelines. “It’s time to reform American’s outdated marijuana policies,” Warren tweeted. The bill will also amend the definition of marijuana to exclude industrial hemp, removing it from the Controlled Substances Act altogether. Some safeguards will remain as the STATES Act maintains some federal limits such as the minimum age of 21 to purchase unless doctor prescribed, minimum age of 18 to work in the industry, and may, in the future, prohibit specific “unsafe production conditions.” The new legislation could also mean that marijuana operations would finally be allowed to safely utilize banks in a way currently prohibited.
Despite Jeff Sessions war of marijuana, the number in favor of medical marijuana has continued to grow. The most recent data shows that roughly 61% of Americans not only approve of medical marijuana, but support the legalization of medical marijuana. Recreational marijuana is now legal in 9 states and Washington D.C. and in another 29 states medical marijuana is legal. While marijuana might be far from being re-scheduled at the federal level, the marijuana industry may be free from federal prosecution sooner than once thought.
If you would like to know more about the new legislation and how it will effect you or your marijuana operation give us a call 415-441-1776.
Senate announcement here
More on US House announcement here
Fact sheet on bill here
Full text of bill here