February 22, 2017

Is this the end of the federal government’s prohibition on marijuana?

A bill introduced into Congress this month by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) may signal the end of the federal government’s war on cannabis.

HR 975, also known as the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017”, would essentially end federal law enforcement involvement in states that have medical marijuana laws on the books. The entire text of this very short bill is as follows:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.

If HR 975 passes it would mean an end to federal raids of medical marijuana dispensaries, recreational cannabis stores and marijuana production facilities in states where that conduct is legal. Although it would not provide protection to medical marijuana patients and caregivers in states that do not have medical or recreational marijuana laws—nor to people in legal states that are operating contrary to the laws of their state—it’s hard to imagine that the DEA or other federal agencies will continue to waste time and resources enforcing antiquated marijuana laws in legal states.

A 2016 Pew Research Center survey showed that 57% of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized, compared to 37% who believe it should remain illegal. By contrast, a similar Pew poll in 2006 showed almost the opposite — 60% believed it should be illegal, compared with 32% who supported legalization.

You can read HR 975 in its entirety below or click here to download the PDF version.

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