When a state passes a law making marijuana a legal substance, the federal government should not have the authority to prosecute citizens or businesses associated with state-legalized marijuana programs. This is the rallying cry of a recent piece of legislation that flew through Capitol Hill on bipartisan wings and aims to stop the federal government from prosecuting citizens and businesses in states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational use.
The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015 bill was introduced to Congress recently and seeks to provide immunity against federal prosecution for individuals and businesses abiding state marijuana laws.
Unlike the CARERS Act, which is a bid to legalize medical marijuana nationwide, this latest piece of legislation would extend the same protection for the medical marijuana industry as for the recreational side, which would allow states the ability to legalize marijuana for any purpose without concerns over violating federal statutes.
“The American people, through the 35 states that have liberalized laws banning either medical marijuana, marijuana in general, or cannabinoid oils, have made it clear that federal enforcers should stay out of their personal lives,” said Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, who introduced the bill. “It’s time for restraint of the federal government’s over-aggressive weed warriors.”
“Unlike other bills that address only some aspects of the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws,” said a representative with the Marijuana Policy Project. “This bill resolves the issue entirely by letting states determine their own policies. It’s the strongest federal legislation introduced to date, and it’s the bill most likely to pass in a Republican-controlled Congress. Nearly every GOP presidential contender has said marijuana policy should be a state issue, not a federal one, essentially endorsing this bill.”