Lawmakers from both sides of the fence have reintroduced the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act. The legislation was introduced in the House and the Senate in order to protect from federal intervention those businesses in states where cannabis is legal.
The STATES Act seeks to amend the current Controlled Substances Act to keep the federal government from interfering in states that have already established their own cannabis laws. It seeks to amend the federal law that bans cannabis to include exemptions for individuals and businesses who comply with state laws.
Currently, there are 10 states, plus Washington, D.C., that have legalized recreational cannabis, and there are 33 more states that have allowed medical cannabis.
The STATE Act was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Cory Gardner, who is a Republican, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat. In the House, meanwhile, 13 congressmen co-sponsored it, led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Dem.) and Rep. David Joyce (Rep.).
Gardner cited Colorado’s cannabis industry, including issues related to banking and federal law enforcement, as one of the reasons why there is a need for such legislation. He said that people of good faith are at risk of becoming federal felon despite being compliant with state laws, and that the cash on the streets is a law enforcement and public safety concern.
Blumenauer said that outdated cannabis laws have ruined lives, wasted resources, and devastated communities.
Alongside the STATES Act are other progressive cannabis legislation that address banking and the study of the use of cannabis for veterans. According to Blumenauer, these are incremental steps that would make a huge difference, but the STATES Act is a “landmark.”