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S.3032 - The STATES Act

To amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide for a new rule regarding the application of the Act to marihuana, and for other purposes.



You might favor this bill if:
►  You believe states have the right to determine the best approach to marijuana within its borders. States and territories should have a clear set of guidelines allowing them to do so, keeping the federal government out of the equation.

You might oppose this bill if:
►  You believe the states do not have the right to determine the best approach for their own marijuana policies. The Federal government's guidelines should continue to superimpose those made by the states.


The ‘‘Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act’’ or the ‘‘STATES Act’’ would ensure that each state has the right to determine for itself the best approach to marijuana within its borders as long as certain provisions are followed.

The bi-partisan and bi-cameral legislation would also extend these protections to Washington D.C, U.S. territories, and federally recognized tribes, and contains common-sense guardrails to ensure that states, territories, and tribes regulating marijuana do so in a way that is safe and respectful of the impacts on their neighbors.

The legislation does not legalize marijuana, instead it protects those states who wish to enact laws, as long as they follow certain guidelines provided in the bill. It makes it illegal for the Federal government to interfere in states marijuana industries.

According to Sen. Warren's press release, forty-six states currently have laws permitting or decriminalizing marijuana or marijuana-based products; Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and a number of tribes have similar laws. As states developed their own approaches to marijuana enforcement, the Department of Justice issued guidance to safeguard these state actions and ensure practical use of limited law enforcement resources. However, this guidance was withdrawn earlier this year, creating legal uncertainty, threatening public health and safety, and undermining state regulatory regimes.

The legislation amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) so that its provisions relating to marijuana activities no longer apply to those who follow the guidelines of the legislation. It defines "compliant transactions" as not trafficking so States now have a clear direction of the law, preventing results that could proceed to become unlawful transactions. It also removes hemp, or the fiber of the cannabis plant, from the list of controlled substances from the CSA.

States and recognized tribes must comply and enforce a number of provisions. States must continue enforcing laws that:
- Prohibit endangering human life while manufacturing marijuana;
- Prohibit employment of persons under age 18 in drug operations;
- Prohibit the distribution of marijuana at transportation safety facilities such as rest areas and truck stops; and
- Prohibits the distribution or sale of marijuana to persons under the age of 21 other than for medical purposes.

“Outdated federal marijuana laws have perpetuated our broken criminal justice system, created barriers to research, and hindered economic development," said sponsor of the bill Senator Warren (D). "States like Massachusetts have put a lot of work into implementing common sense marijuana regulations - and they have the right to enforce their own marijuana policies. The federal government needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana."


"In 2012, Coloradans legalized marijuana at the ballot box and the state created an apparatus to regulate the legal marijuana industry. But because of the one-size-fits-all federal prohibition, state decisions like this put Colorado and other states at odds with the federal government," said original sponsor of the bill Senator Gardner (R). "The federal government is closing its eyes and plugging its ears while 46 states have acted. The bipartisan STATES Act fixes this problem once and for all by taking a states' rights approach to the legal marijuana question. The bipartisan, commonsense bill ensures the federal government will respect the will of the voters - whether that is legalization or prohibition - and not interfere in any states' legal marijuana industry."


The legislation has been endorsed by multiple organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for Liberty, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cooperative Credit Union Association, the Institute for Liberty, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, the Massachusetts Bankers Association, the Maine Credit Union League, the Mountain West Credit Union Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the New Federalism Fund, NORML, the Northwest Credit Union Association, R Street, and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, among others.

According to the Denver Post, in a call between President Trump and Senator Gardner, President Trump stated that he supports a "legislative solution" to protect states rights in terms of marijuana reform as long as Sen. Gardner stops blocking his Justice nominees.

S.3032

Sponsored by: Sen. Warren, Elizabeth [D-MA]

Cosponsored by: 4 Rep / 3 Dem.

See list of cosponsors.




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