© 2023 New England Public Media

FCC public inspection files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact hello@nepm.org or call 413-781-2801.
PBS. NPR. Local Perspective.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fed Marijuana Bill Unveiled By Sen. Elizabeth Warren And Colorado Republican

Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks from the stage during her open house at Springfield Technical Community College on March 9, 2018.
Mark M. Murray
The Republican / MassLive.com/photos
Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on March 9, 2018 in a file photo.

Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren joined a Colorado Republican on Thursday to roll out federal legislation that would resolve much of the tension between the federal prohibition on marijuana and the growing pot industries in states that have voted to legalize marijuana.

The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act (STATES Act) seeks to ensure each state the right to determine the best approach to marijuana regulation within its borders, Warren said. The bill would make the federal Controlled Substances Act not applicable in marijuana cases where someone is acting within the laws of their state.

"Outdated federal marijuana laws have perpetuated our broken criminal justice system, created barriers to research, and hindered economic development," Warren said. "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."

Warren introduced the bill alongside Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican who has been critical of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions's revocation of Department of Justice guidance that generally protected state-legal marijuana.

Gardner said the STATES Act "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 bill would remove industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana and clarify that state-legal marijuana transactions do not constitute trafficking, an attempt to address banking and finance barriers the federally-illegal marijuana industry faces.

The National Conference of State Legislatures came out in support of the Warren/Gardner bill on Thursday.

"This federal framework provides states with the tools necessary to build effective, state-specific policies and regulations ensuring public safety and economic growth. NCSL continues to support states’ sovereignty, respectively, to determine the best legislative path forward, free of preemption and federal overreach," NCSL Executive Director William Pound said.

This report was originally published by State House News Service.

Related Content