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Cannabis Caucus – States’ Rights Update

Let’s talk about bills. Not the ones piled up on the counter (or still in your mailbox), I’m talking about them bills on Capitol Hill, Schoolhouse Rock anyone? Currently there is a bipartisan bill working its way through congress that supports states’ rights to legal cannabis. I’ve never been one for politics until this last election when the entire world got sucked into the goat rodeo of U.S. politics. So if you don’t know what bipartisan means, it basically means that for once both parties agree on something (for now). This bipartisan bill will effectively exempt legal states from federal prosecution. No longer will a federal agent be able to arrest you for possession of cannabis or raid any cannabis related facility. Now to meet our heroes.

Cory Gardner

Give it up for my man, fighting the good fight, who we talked about a couple weeks back, Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.). Born, raised, and educated in the state that has led the way in cannabis legalization, Senator Gardner is a native Coloradan. He was elected to the Senate in 2014 and since 2017, Gardner has been chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, ranking him sixth in the Senate Republican leadership.

“The federal government is closing its eyes and plugging its ears while 46 states have acted.  The bipartisan STATES Act fixes this problem once and for all by taking a states’ rights approach to the legal marijuana question. The commonsense bill ensures the federal government will respect the will of the voters—whether that is legalization or prohibition—and not interfere in any states’ legal marijuana industry.”

– Cory Gardner

Elizabeth Warren

Liz Warner

Now give it up for the one, the only, the OG first female Senator of Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Senator Warren graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in speech pathology and audiology. For a year, she taught children with disabilities. Her husband had a job transfer that took them to New Jersey where she pursued her education as a lawyer while she had their two children. She passed the Bar and went from writing wills and foreclosures to teaching law at prestigious universities around the country including, Harvard Law, before being elected to the Senate in 2012.

“[…] federal marijuana laws have perpetuated our broken criminal justice system, created barriers to research, and hindered economic development. […] The federal government needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana.”

– Liz Warren

This bill named Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Entrusting States (STATES) was introduced June 7, 2018 on Capitol Hill. If passed, this bill will not bring about nationwide cannabis legalization, however, it will exempt state-legal cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. This will allow each state to legalize, or keep current legalization as they see fit in their state.

When asked about the bill, on his way out the door of the White House en route to the G7 Summit in Canada, President Trump said, “I know exactly what he’s [Sen. Gardener]  doing. We’re looking at it, but I probably will end up supporting that.” Take the word of politicians and billionaires with a grain of salt perhaps, but this could mean huge advances in the regulation and legalization of cannabis with a federalism approach that leaves the power in the hands of the state.  

Other noteworthy provisions in the bill will remove industrial hemp from the list set about under the Controlled Substances Act. It also sets the age for employment in the cannabis industry at 18 and prohibits the sale or distribution of cannabis to those under 21 other than for medical purposes in medically legal states to medical marijuana patients. Most importantly, if passed into law, this legislation will protect anyone who chooses to use cannabis so long as they are adhering to all of the state guidelines for legally obtaining and consuming cannabis. This means that you should continue to stay up to date on your states’ cannabis laws and regulations to ensure you are aligned with what is legal in your state.


Perhaps this is a big (potential) step forward for states’ rights and for the future of cannabis in our country. As this industry continues to grow and become legitimized in the eyes of the American people, and as we continue to make history with the end of cannabis prohibition, my hope is that those of us who already live a cannabis lifestyle will represent our community well. I cannot stress this enough: knowledge is power. Continue to educate your friends, family, anyone who will listen and let’s join together in this time to do our part in helping make this amazing plant available to everyone who may need it or be interested in it’s many benefits. We have the opportunity to help shape the future and be a part of history in the making.

Click here to read more from Jeff Willems.


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