Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Don Young (R-AK) filed a resolution today (HR 4779) that would prohibit the federal government from enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized the plant.
“The federal government should respect the will of the voters in states that have voted to decriminalize cannabis”, says Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “It’s time to stop wasting taxpayer money on the failed War on Drugs. I’m proud to introduce the REFER Act, which would prevent the Attorney General and others in the Trump Administration from stifling the budding cannabis industry.” Lee says that “if the federal government chooses to interfere in these state matters, it’s up to Congress to prevent this harmful overreach.”
“With the Justice Department having rescinded Obama-era directives limiting the federal government’s involvement in states where marijuana is lawful, and with the future of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment uncertain, it is imperative that members of Congress take swift action in support of HR 4779,” says NORML’s Political Director Justin Strekal. “More than seven out of ten Americans – including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans – believe that states, not the federal government, ought to decide marijuana policy. Our nation’s longstanding federalist principles demand that Congress take action to respect voters’ wishes and permit these policies to evolve free from undue federal interference.”
Specifically, HR 4779 bars federal funding for any efforts that seek to “detain, prosecute, sentence, or initiate civil proceedings against and individual, business or property that is involved in the cultivation, distribution, possession, dispensation, or the use of cannabis in accordance with the law or regulation of the state or unit of local government in which the individual is located.”
It also prohibits the federal government from taking any punitive action against a financial institution “solely because the institution provides financial services to an entity” that is involved in state-sanctioned marijuana-related activities.
About Anthony Martinelli
Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.