Respecting State Laws

A majority of voters in both political parties support making cannabis legal for adults and 70% of Americans oppose the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states with legal cannabis. With such clear public support for the cannabis policies already succeeding in state-after-state, it’s long past time for Congress to take action by enacting sensible federal marijuana policies.

In January 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Obama-era “Cole Memo,” guidelines which directed the directing the Department of Justice DOJ to de-prioritize enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states with well-regulated cannabis programs. This move sparked outcry from policymakers and state regulators across the nation and further stresses the urgent need for Congressional action.

NCIA supports a number of reform bills pending before Congress, including the “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act” (H.R. 6043 & S. 3032), bipartisan legislation that would harmonize federal law with the laws of states that have some form of legal marijuana without forcing legalization on states that have not yet moved toward regulation.

Ultimately, cannabis should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol across 50 states and at the federal level. But an easy step for Congress to take now would be to pass the STATES Act or similar legislation respecting the rights of states to determine their own cannabis policies without interference.


State Cannabis Laws: A Progress Report Four Congressional Actions to Protect The State-Legal Cannabis Industry in the Post-Cole Era



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