On May 18, 2017, Colorado Reps. Diana DeGette and Mike Coffman introduced legislation for the federal government to respect state marijuana laws. If passed, the bill, “Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act of 2017,” would amend the Controlled Substances Act so that the federal government could not use the CSA to preempt state marijuana laws.
“Passing this bill is now more important than ever before,” DeGette said in a press release. “My colleagues and I—along with our constituents—spoke out frequently during the Obama administration to make clear we didn’t want the federal government denying money to our states or taking other punitive steps that would undermine the will of our citizens.”
DeGette and Coffman previously introduced a similar bill to respect state marijuana laws in 2012 to no avail, but have decided to reintroduce it based upon the potential of the Trump Administration to ramp up marijuana enforcement efforts.
“Lately, we’ve had even more reason for these concerns, given Trump administration statements. This bill makes clear that we’re not going back to the days of raids on legal dispensaries, of folks living in fear that they’re not going to get the medical marijuana they need, or that they might get jailed for using it,” DeGette explained.
“Since this is clearly not a matter of interstate commerce, I believe that the people of Colorado had every right, under the U.S. Constitution, to decide this issue for themselves and as their representative in Congress, I have an obligation to respect the will of the people of Colorado and that’s why I’m reintroducing this bill with Congresswoman DeGette,” Coffman added.
DeGette and Coffman’s proposed legislation to respect state marijuana laws joins a bevy of bills attempting to make federal marijuana policy reforms, including a bipartisan bill to give state-legal marijuana businesses access to banking, a bill to decriminalize marijuana federally and a bill to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule III substance.