One of Congress’s leading proponents of marijuana law reform — a key Trump ally — announced he will soon be filing new legislation in line with the president’s pledge to support changing federal cannabis laws.
“I am extremely happy that President Trump has made perfectly clear that he meant his campaign promise to respect state laws with regard to marijuana. Now there should be no question in Attorney General Sessions’ mind about the president’s intention,” Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said in a press release. “This is a fundamental issue of federalism and freedom, as state after state moves to take marijuana out of the hands of the cartels and place it in a competitive market where consumers can be assured of product safety. It also encourages more exploration of medical uses for cannabis, which has shown unquestionable promise in the treatment of multiple ailments and disorders.”
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and White House officials announced late last week that Trump is in support of passing legislation to protect state cannabis laws from federal interference.
“I look forward to working with President Trump and Senator Gardner to move my legislation through Congress,” Rohrabacher said. “The authors of our great Constitution most assuredly would approve.”
The congressman’s new “Cannabis States’ Rights Act” would make “restraint on federal enforcement permanent,” the release said.
The proposal will be similar to legislation that Rohrabacher already introduced this Congress, known as the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,” which says that the federal Controlled Substances Act “shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.”
The new bill will add broader language protecting people complying with laws of Indian tribes, and not just states.
“If it’s legal under state law, it’s legal under federal law,” Rick Dykema, the congressman’s chief of staff and legislative director, told Marijuana Moment in an interview.
The language will also be “tightened” a bit to clarify that the bill doesn’t prevent federal authorities from enforcing the law on federal land, even if that land is within the borders of a state that has legalized cannabis, Dykema said, adding that it is expected to be filed within the next week or two.
The current bill has 45 cosponsors, and Dykema said his office is working to line up as many as possible of those to sign onto the new legislation.
Rohrabacher has been one of the most consistent advocates for cannabis law reform on Capitol Hill, and is a co-author of a current federal spending rider that prohibits Justice Department interference with state medical cannabis laws.
Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.