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Joyce Unveils Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Protect States Rights

April 4, 2019
Press Release

Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14), alongside Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), announced the introduction of the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2019. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation ensures each state has the right to determine for itself the best approach to cannabis policy within its borders while also containing commonsense guardrails to ensure that states, territories and tribes regulating cannabis do so in a manner that is safe and respectful of potential impacts on their neighbors.

"The current federal policy interferes with the ability of states to implement their own cannabis laws, and the resulting system has stifled important medical research, hurt legitimate businesses and diverted critical law enforcement resources needed elsewhere," said Dave. "It's past time for Congress to clarify cannabis policy on the federal level and ensure states are free to make their own decisions in the best interest of their constituents. The STATES Act does just that by respecting the will of the states that have legalized cannabis in some form and allowing them to implement their own policies without fear of repercussion from the federal government."

"Forty-seven states have legalized some form of cannabis and the majority of Americans support its legalization," said Representative Blumenauer. "Our outdated laws have ruined lives, devastated communities, and wasted resources for critical medical treatment and research. The STATES Act is the next logical step in a comprehensive blueprint for more rational federal cannabis policy. It's time for Congress to catch up with the rest of America and fix a badly broken system."

Original cosponsors of the STATES Act include Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Don Young (AK-At Large), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Ken Buck (R-CO), Dina Titus (D-NV), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Greg Steube (R-FL), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Kelly Armstrong (ND-At Large), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Denver Riggleman (R-VA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Tom Graves (R-GA), Chellie, Pingree (D-ME), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Lou Correa (D-CA), Charlie Crist (D-FL), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).

Organizations that have endorsed the STATES Act include but are not limited to: the American Bankers Association, Cannabis Trade Federation, Americans for Prosperity, National Cannabis Industry Association, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Credit Union National Association, and the National Cannabis Roundtable. For a full list of organizations that support this important legislation, click here.

Specifically, the STATES Act would:

  • Amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) so that - as long as states and tribes comply with a few basic protections - its provisions no longer apply to any person acting in compliance with State or tribal laws relating to cannabis activities.
  • Clearly state that compliant transactions are not trafficking and do not result in proceeds of an unlawful transaction in order to address financial issues caused by federal prohibition.
  • Maintain the CSA prohibitions on endangering human life while manufacturing a controlled substance and on employing persons under age 18 in marijuana operations, two federal requirements with which states, territories, and tribes must continue to comply.
  • Maintain the prohibition of the distribution of cannabis at transportation safety facilities such as rest areas and truck stops.
  • Prohibit the distribution or sale of cannabis to persons under the age of 21 other than for medical purposes. Instruct the Government Accountability Office 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.

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