State lawmakers have an important message for Congress: Stay out of our business when it comes to marijuana laws.
Last week, the National Conference of State Legislatures approved a resolution demanding the federal government amend the Controlled Substances Act to “allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference.”
In addition, despite members having different opinions over how marijuana policies should be handled, the resolution suggests that, “states and localities should be able to set whatever marijuana and hemp policies work best to improve the public safety, health, and economic development of their communities.”
State lawmakers from all across the country gathered in Seattle on Thursday, passing the resolution in a voice vote of 75 percent of the attending jurisdictions.
Marijuana advocacy groups have since come forward to commend the NCSL for their dedication to reforming federal policies that continue to bind the cannabis plant.
“State lawmakers just sent a message to Congress that could not be any clearer,” Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “It’s time to end the federal prohibition of marijuana and let the states decide what policies work best for them.”
Although more than have of the nation has legalized marijuana for either medicinal or recreational use, the federal government still remains committed to causing trouble in states that have passed cannabis-friendly laws. Last year, the Obama Administration announced that it was taking a “hands off approach” to jurisdictions with marijuana laws in place, but recent statistics show the Department of Justice is still spending in upwards of $80 million per year to harass the medical marijuana community.
The inconsistencies are frustrating, especially considering that some of the latest polls reveal that the majority of the population believes that states should have the final say in determining their marijuana laws. In 2014, Third Way published a report that found 67 percent of the population support the concept of Congress passing a bill that makes legal marijuana states a “safe haven” from federal marijuana laws. What’s more is 60 percent of those surveyed said that state governments should prevail over federal enforcement.
The NCSL is scheduled to meet again in October to cast an official vote on the resolution.
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