Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a republican from Southern California, has once again introduced a bill that would aim to protect cannabis laws implemented at the state level. On Monday February 7th, Rep. Rohrabacher submitted a nearly-identical bill to the ones proposed in 2013 and 2015. But now that the number of states and citizens supporting cannabis is at an all-time high, there is a great chance that the bill, HR 975 of the 115th Congress, could gain the required amount of traction in the House.
The bill, also known as the ‘Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017,’ hopes to provides citizens with Federal protections as long as they follow the laws of their state. Rep. Rohrabacher has been an advocate for medical marijuana for the last several years, admitting that he also has a doctor’s recommendation in the state of California. Rep. Rohrabacher is joined by strong bi-partisan support, with six Democrats and seven Republican representatives co-sponsoring the bill.
As more and more states pass medical and recreational cannabis laws, hundreds of thousands gain legal access to a substance still considered by the Federal government as detrimental to health and society. Federal laws overrule the laws of individual states, but cannabis thrived during the Obama administration due to a hands-off policy instituted by Attorney Generals from that era. Rep. Rohrabacher’s bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act with a new provision:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marijuana.” -H.R. 975
However, the new president, along with his new pick for Attorney General, have many in the cannabis space feeling on edge. It is unclear whether the new AG, former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, will aggressively attack the fragile Federal-state relationship of cannabis policies. This bill, on the other hand, would cement legislation to keep Sessions from instructing the Department of Justice to conduct raids in states with legal cannabis provisions.
Rep. Rohrabacher’s bill has some powerful support from other state representatives, including Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) who has long been an ally to Rohrabacher on the matter of cannabis. You can review the other co-sponsors of the bill below, some of whom hail from states that do not yet have comprehensive marijuana laws, even for medical use. The winds of change are a-blowin’.
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