Historic Legislation Paving the Way for Legal Interstate Cannabis Commerce Introduced in Congress

Historic Legislation Paving the Way for Legal Interstate Cannabis Commerce Introduced in Congress

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Aaron Smith, National Cannabis Industry Association


Historic Legislation Paving the Way for Legal Interstate Cannabis Commerce Introduced in Congress

National Cannabis Industry Association presses for federal protections as Oregon becomes first state to enact cannabis export bill  


WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced federal legislation that would protect interstate cannabis commerce from federal interference if the activity is in compliance with state laws and interstate compacts. The legislation also makes protections against federal interference in state medical cannabis programs permanent and expands those protections to apply to all state-legal cannabis programs, including those that allow for regulated sales to adults over age 21. Legal adult consumers and patients who travel between these states transporting limited amounts of cannabis would also be protected from federal prosecution.

“Like any other agricultural product, cannabis production should be able to take place in states with optimal climate conditions and exported to other legal markets across the country. This legislation is a bold step toward making that a reality,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “This act would allow the cannabis industry to become more efficient and environmentally sustainable, as voters and state legislatures across the country continue to move away from the failed policies of prohibition.”

“As more and more states legalize cannabis, the gap between state and federal laws will only grow more confusing for both legal businesses and consumers,” said Sen. Wyden. “The solution is clear: the federal government needs to end its senseless and out of touch prohibition. As we fight for that ultimate goal, however, Congress can and should immediately act to protect the will of Oregonians and voters in other states from federal interference—and that should include interstate cannabis commerce.”

“The federal government is hopelessly out of touch with the American people on cannabis,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Last week, the House agreed and passed my amendments to forbid the federal government from interfering with cannabis programs in the states, D.C. and tribal communities. This week, we are turning to a top priority for Oregonians—allowing for interstate sale of cannabis. It’s past time we protect the states, like Oregon, that have gotten it right.”

The State Cannabis Commerce Act of 2019 was introduced just days after Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D) signed groundbreaking bipartisan legislation that allows the state to enter into compacts to export cannabis to other states with legal marijuana programs, once the federal government allows it. The legislation would not affect those states which have yet to enact cannabis programs or choose not to enter into aninterstate compact.

“On behalf of the thousands of cannabis professionals that make up our diverse membership, we look forward to working with other states that are poised to follow Oregon’s lead by enacting interstate commerce legislation as well as with our allies in Congress to advance this much-needed federal reform,” continued Smith.

A Gallup poll released in October reported that 66% of Americans support making cannabis legal, including a majority of Republicans. A Quinnipiac poll from April 2018 showed that 74% of voters support legislation protecting states with legal cannabis programs from federal interference.

There are currently 47 states that allow cannabis in some form. Thirty-three states and several territories have comprehensive medical cannabis laws, and 11 states as well as the District of Columbia and the territories of Guam and CNMI have made cannabis legal for adults.


The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization broadly representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

House of Representatives Approves Historic Measure Halting Federal Interference in State Cannabis Laws

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