New Legislation: STATES Act to Respect State Cannabis Laws
| David Mangone
The STATES Act allows each state, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, as well as several tribal governments, to determine their own policy when it comes to cannabis laws without interference from the Department of Justice or other federal agencies. This bill does not legalize cannabis at the federal level but rather allows states the power to set policies approving or prohibiting cannabis. The STATES Act also resolves many of the issues of taxes and banking that have hindered the medical cannabis industry.
The STATES Act is the perfect example of bipartisan cooperation. 94% of Americans think that medical cannabis should be legal, and it is about time that Congress catches up to public opinion. While the STATES Act does not solve all the challenges faced by medical cannabis patients, it removes the massive barrier of Federal-State conflict. When states are allowed to set their own medical cannabis laws free from interference, states can develop programs that allow for the use of medical cannabis for chronic pain and opioid use disorder potentially saving thousands of lives
While recent data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission shows that federal prosecutions of cannabis related offenses has declined sharply since 2013, medical patients still live in fear of prosecution. The STATES Act creates a permanent solution to ending the federal-state conflict, and would end the need for the Commerce, Justice and Science Amendment that protects patients from federal interference that must be renewed every year.
We recently issued a letter of support for this bill. This legislation is also supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, the Brennan Center for Justice, Campaign for Liberty, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cooperative Credit Union Association, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Institute for Liberty, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, the Marijuana Policy Project, the Massachusetts Bankers Association, the Maine Credit Union League, the Mountain West Credit Union Association, the National Cannabis Bar Association, the National Cannabis Industry Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the New Federalism Fund, NORML, the Northwest Credit Union Association, R Street, and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.