Federal Legislative Look

We are also excited about a number of federal bills that seek to synthesize federal and state marijuana law. Among a handful of others, these five measures are pending in Congress that address some of the gaps once filled by the Cole memo:

H.R. 4779, a.k.a. The REFER Act, to restrict funds and prohibit the federal government from punishing canna-businesses operating in compliance with state laws

H.R. 1227, a.k.a. The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)

H.R. 975, a.k.a. The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, to bar the CSA from applying to cannabis, as long as the party in question complies with state law

S. 1689, a.k.a. The Marijuana Justice Act, to end federal cannabis prohibition, cut law enforcement funding for states with racially disproportionate cannabis arrests, and establish a $500 million “community reinvestment fund” to repair the damage of the Drug War

The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which prevents the Department of Justice from spending money to go after medical marijuana, and the McClintock-Polis amendment to do the same for adult-use marijuana

Here’s why the legislators behind these bills are pushing for reform:

“In light of the recent rescinding of the Cole memo, Congress must act to provide this certainty to these groups and respect the right of states to set their own laws,” said Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska), co-sponsor of H.R. 4779. His bill in particular seeks to protect financial institutions, patients, entrepreneurs, and others by restricting federal funds from being used to crack down on these groups, so long as they comply with state law. He explained that H.R. 4779 would be an expansion of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.

“Voters across the country have made it clear that they want to see our failed marijuana criminalization laws modernized. The federal government should listen to the will of the people and stop forcing unjust and discriminatory criminalization policies on states that have chosen legalization,” echoed Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-California), who also co-sponsors H.R. 4779. “It’s time to empower our communities to move from prohibition towards progress.”