This morning, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the bipartisan Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act (STATES Act) in an attempt to address the incongruity between federal and state law related to legal marijuana. Echoing the agreement between President Trump and Sen. Gardner in April to take a states' rights approach on the issue, the bill amends the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) to protect those individuals and businesses in compliance with state marijuana laws and regulations from federal interference. The Brownstein Emerging Regulated Industries (ERI) practice group has been honored to work with Sen. Gardner on this legislation and his bipartisan and federalism-minded approach to addressing this issue.
The STATES Act does nothing to interfere with the federal government's ability to enforce against the illicit drug trade. Instead, it protects law-abiding citizens under their respective state law in accordance with the core tenets of the 10th Amendment. If a state currently does not have legal marijuana, this bill would do nothing to change that. The STATES Act simply provides deference to states that have decided, either through legislative action or by a vote of its citizens, to legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use.
Currently, 29 states have legalized the medical use of marijuana. Among those, nine states and the District of Columbia have also legalized marijuana for recreational use by adults.
Please click here to view a joint interview with Sen. Gardner and Sen. Warren on the STATES Act.