With a seismic shift in the public’s view of marijuana use, many cannabis activists have directed their energies towards the federal reform of marijuana laws.
With 18 states that have updated medical marijuana laws voted into law by large voter margins, the momentum is growing to address the out-of–date and unworkable federal marijuana policies. Lawmakers in Washington agree that their constituents are overwhelmingly in favor of reforming marijuana laws at state as well as federal levels. Congress is also very aware of the potential revenue that can be produced from taxation of marijuana dispensaries and growers.
There have been several bills recently introduced into Congress, including two bills proposed by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) from Oregon- H.R. 689, the States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, designed to protect state medical marijuana patients from federal prosecution, and H.R. 501, the Marijuana Tax Equity Act of 2013, which would create a system to regulate and generate tax income from marijuana.
Another bi-partisan group in Congress has proposed legislation to provide protection from prosecution for medical and non-medical marijuana businesses as well as individual marijuana users where it is legal under state law. The goal of the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act is to reform federal marijuana laws and honor the rights of voters in the individual states to set policy on use and possession of cannabis.
Conservative California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrbacher introduced the legislation in April, declaring: “This bipartisan bill represents a common sense approach that establishes federal government respect for all states’ marijuana laws. It does so by keeping the federal government out of the business of criminalizing marijuana in states that don’t want it to be criminal.”
Currently, medical marijuana dispensaries in 18 states are operating in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act, which makes possession of marijuana is illegal under the act. This leaves state marijuana lawmakers and cannabis users in a state of legal limbo with contradictory state and federal laws regarding marijuana use. So far, the federal government has not issued any formal policies on the issue of state vs. federal laws.
Many U.S citizens feel that it is time to put outdated and unfair federal marijuana laws where they belong- off the current law books and into the history books.
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