Joyce, Chavez-DeRemer, Mast, Blumenauer, and Carter Introduce Legislation to Protect States’ Cannabis Policies

Dec 07, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Dave Joyce (OH-14), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-05), Brian Mast (FL-21), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), and Troy Carter (LA-02) introduced a modernized version of the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act to ensure that each State has the right to determine for itself the best approach to cannabis within its borders. This legislation also extends these protections to Washington D.C., U.S. territories, and federally recognized tribal nations.

Forty-eight states have laws permitting to some degree cannabis or cannabis-based products, and Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and a number of tribal nations have similar laws. However, federal guidance is often in contradiction and lacking proper regulatory support. 

“The current federal approach to cannabis policy infringes on the rights of states to implement their own laws, stifling critical medical research, hurting legitimate businesses, and diverting vital law enforcement resources needed elsewhere,” said Congressman JoyceCo-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. “The STATES Act does what every federal bill should do – help all 50 states succeed. This bill respects the will of the states that have legalized cannabis in some form and allows them to implement their own policies without fear of repercussion from the federal government.”

“I am proud to have worked on multiple iterations of the STATES Act with my friend Dave Joyce. Cannabis reform benefits from such true bipartisan engagement. I look forward to our work to make the federal government a better partner to the states of all political stripes leading the path forward,” said Congressman Blumenauer, Co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. 

“The Constitution never says the word ‘cannabis,’ but it does say clearly that all powers not explicitly given to the federal government remain with the states,” said Congressman Mast, Co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. “Cannabis policy should be based on that: 50 states should be able to set 50 different policies that are going to be best for their constituents, and that’s exactly what the STATES Act will do.” 

“As more and more states have adopted their own laws regarding cannabis legalization, it’s more important than ever to create a safe and professional environment for one of the fastest-growing industries. That’s why I’m honored to help lead the STATES Act. By recognizing state cannabis laws at the federal level, we can help bring certainty and safety to businesses and communities,” said Congresswoman Chavez-DeRemer. 

“Current federal cannabis policy limits state’s autonomy, hindering vital medical research and businesses. The STATES Act will fix this by allowing states to shape their own cannabis policies, fostering a secure environment for the industry’s growth and development. This bill’s comprehensive provisions, including FDA regulation, youth protection measures, and addressing financial challenges, is a positive step in the right direction towards cannabis reform,” said Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr.


  • Amends the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. § 801) (CSA)  The STATES Act amends the Controlled Substances Actto no longer classify marijuana as a substance covered by the Controlled Substances Act, that is manufactured, produced, possessed, distributed, dispensed, administrated, or delivered in compliance with State and Tribal law, while also ensuring states that opt to maintain prohibition receive federal support and assistance for this enforcement.
  • Continues to apply the following federal criminal provisions under the CSA by prohibiting: 
    o    Distribution of marijuana to anyone under the age of 21; and

    o    Employment of persons under age 18 in marijuana operations.
  • Regulates marijuana products through Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by outlining that the FDA should classify marijuana products as they fall into specific categories, such as drug, food and dietary supplements, or cosmetics, to ensure products meet the standards for contaminant testing, manufacturing expectations, and marketing practices. This bill will also make clear the FDA will not have the authority to require premarket approval. 
  • Prohibits the distribution of marijuana at transportation safety facilities such as rest areas and truck stops.
  • Bars the distribution or sale of marijuana to persons under the age of 21 other than for medical purposes.
  • Instructs the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the effects of marijuana legalization on traffic safety, including whether states are able to accurately evaluate marijuana impairment, testing standards used by these states, and a detailed assessment of traffic incidents.
  • Addresses financial issues caused by federal prohibition by clearly stating that compliant transactions are not trafficking and do not result in proceeds of an unlawful transaction. Additionally, conduct in compliance with the STATES Act shall not be subject to section 280E of the Internal Revenue code relating to expenditures and revenue in connection with the sale of illegal drugs.  

“There are now 38 states that have legalized some form of cannabis in recognition of the fact that blanket prohibition has failed to achieve its intended goals. The resulting conflict with federal policy undermines the credibility of federal law and the rule of law itself. It is time to restore federalism and align federal and state policy to ensure that cannabis markets – where they exist – are safer. The STATES Act achieves this in a way that allows each state to make the best decisions for its citizens while refocusing federal law enforcement resources on fighting back against the cartels and gangs that undermine public safety in our communities.” – Jeremiah Mosteller, Policy Director for Americans for Prosperity.

“The STATES Act can be a vehicle to normalize the concept of removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, just as other pieces of bipartisan legislation have advanced critical concepts such as the HOPE Act with expungements and the PREPARE Act with regulatory controls. It is our intention that members of the House Majority give real consideration to these ideas and engage thoughtfully with their Senate counterparts to advance durable policy moving forward.” – Justin Strekal of Better Organizing to Win Legalization

“The STATES Act does what every federal bill should do –help all 50 states succeed in the policies they choose. Whether you are pro-legalization or anti-legalization, we can all acknowledge the current federal posture of having its head in the sand is not working. This bill will create the commonsense guardrails that will protect our youth, protect our roads, battle against addiction and psychosis, and keep cannabis out of communities that do not want it. This legislation does not aim to open new cannabis markets. Instead, it simply aligns federal policy with state policy so that existing cannabis markets are safer, and federal efforts can be focused on keeping cannabis out of states where it remains illegal. CPEAR thanks Rep. Dave Joyce for his commitment to getting cannabis reform right and looks forward to working with him as he champions this bill in Congress.” – Andrew Freedman, Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation executive director. 

“As a majority of states have moved – and continue to move – to legalize cannabis and expand legal programs, both medicinal and adult use, it is beyond time for the federal government to accept state progress, which has been gaining momentum for over 25 years. As the federal government continues to stall on if and how it will regulate cannabis, a state centric approach to cannabis regulation is a common-sense way Congress can move reform in the right direction. This is key for providing much needed certainty, clarity, and consistency for consumers, law enforcement, business owners, and state officials. We thank Congressman Joyce for his dedication and leadership in the fight for cannabis reform that prioritizes the work and effort each state has put in place to regulate cannabis within their borders. NCR looks forward to continuing to work with Congress and the Administration to move forward policies that support patient and consumer access, public safety, social and criminal justice reform, economic opportunities, and ultimately, the end of federal prohibition.” – Saphira Galoob, Executive Director of the National Cannabis Roundtable

“ATACH applauds the reintroduction of the STATES Act, which is legislation that at its very core respects the integrity of state-level legalization programs, and continues to be the most compelling, viable, and elegant solution to ending the conflict between state and federal marijuana law.” – Michael Bronstein, president, American Trade Association for Cannabis & Hemp 

“Most Americans reside in a state where cannabis is legal for adult use and there is now supermajority support for policy reform across the country. We commend Rep. Joyce for re-introducing this landmark legislation which would finally bring federal policy into line with these modern state laws and public opinion, while respecting states’ autonomy on the issue of marijuana regulation.” – Aaron Smith, CEO of the National Cannabis Industry Association. 

“The state of Ohio has historically provided warriors of substance that have sought to heal and protect Native Americans. One was the great Shawnee warrior Chief Tecumseh the other is the modern day warrior Representative Dave Joyce. Both exemplify that a life in service to sovereign native people is a fervent prayer a sacred prayer. Today we once again wholeheartedly celebrate the efforts of Representative Joyce to help heal us as people as we aspire to be healthy in body healthy in heart and healthy in mind. I therefore endorse our warrior brother’s efforts through the power of cannabis to assist us in this journey so that we might address our generational trauma and our generational pain. — so that we may together give collective voice to a civil war nurse’s words – a nurse named Walt Whitman who stated…… “let one’s hands wash and softly wash this soiled nation’s soul.” – Tom Rodgers, Acting President of the Global Indigenous Council and enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation. 

The STATES Act was first introduced in 2018 in the House by Representatives Joyce and Blumenauer and in the Senate by Senators Gardner and Warren. 

Read the full text of the bill here

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