For decades now, there has been intense friction between states with legalized marijuana and the federal government. Because the United States still classifies weed as a Schedule I substance, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is authorized to treat all marijuana possession and distribution as criminal activity, which can often carry severe penalties even for first-time offenders. Meanwhile, states with legalized weed do not charge or prosecute marijuana crimes locally, resulting in an uneasy dance with federal authorities.
As more and more states become open to the cannabis market, however, things have finally started to shift. To protect legal cannabis business owners, a bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed a landmark federal marijuana bill in Congress on April 4th, 2019. Sponsored by Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren in the Senate and Earl Blumenauer and David Joyce in the House, the bill has been dubbed the STATES Act, which stands for “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States.”
What Will the STATES Act Accomplish?
The goal of the STATES Act is simple: To empower legal cannabis business owners across the country. In order to accomplish this goal, the bill proposes an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act that will exempt any cannabis growers, sellers, and distributors that comply with regulations in their home state.
The implications of this proposed bill can’t be overstated. If passed, the STATES Act would free many California cannabis businesses to operate without any fear of intervention from the federal government and the DEA. It would also allow legal cannabis customers to safely give out their names, financial information, and identities, knowing that they will not be targeted by DEA raids. Finally, it would reduce some of the long-standing issues with securing proper cannabis licenses, as state licensing agencies will not be required to tiptoe under federal oversight.
Skilled Cannabis Business Lawyers in San Diego
Given that Congress passed a bill just last month that allows banking institutions to service marijuana businesses – and given the sweeping bicameral and bipartisan support for this bill – the STATES Act has a decent chance of becoming law in the near future. Until that happens, however, many legal California businesses may still face an unfair degree of scrutiny and even legal trouble. If you need assistance with navigating the complexities of cannabis law, you can trust that our team will help you handle them quickly and efficiently, so you can keep growing your business.
Ready for a free consultation? Contact us at (858) 360-7080 to get started!