Washington, DC – Bipartisan Senate legislation that would end the federal conflict with state marijuana laws was introduced today, amid growing public support for the legal cannabis industry.
The bipartisan legislation, Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018, would exempt individuals in compliance with state marijuana laws and a set of new federal guidelines from certain provisions of the federal Controlled Substances Act. The legislation, announced in a press conference Thursday by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), does not remove federal criminal penalties for illicit marijuana behavior but would end federal interference with state and tribal laws that have regulated the production, sale, and personal consumption of cannabis for medical patients and adults age 21 and older.
A bipartisan companion bill was also introduced by Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) in the House.
“State-level marijuana reforms are successfully replacing criminal markets with tightly regulated businesses that contribute hundreds of millions in tax revenue and generate tens of thousands of jobs. This legislation allows states to make their own decisions on how cannabis is treated within their borders and would be an important step toward protecting the legal businesses that make up one of the nation’s fastest growing industries,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), in support of the bill. “Now that a majority of congressional representatives hail from states with some form of legal cannabis, we look forward to the passage of this important legislation so that states will no longer fear federal interference with their successful cannabis programs and our industry can reach its full potential as an alternative to underground markets.”
A Quinnipiac University poll released in April found 63% of Americans support legalizing marijuana and 70% oppose federal interference with state-authorized cannabis programs. Sen. Gardner announced in April that President Trump indicated that he would sign legislation supporting states’ rights on the issue.
The introduction of this landmark bill comes just two weeks after NCIA’s 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days, the largest Washington, D.C. fly-in for the legal marijuana industry. Over 200 cannabis industry professionals participated in hundreds of meetings with congressional offices to advocate in support of proposed federal marijuana reforms.
The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only one broadly representing cannabis businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.