Many politicians have spoken out against Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to rescind a policy protecting states with legal marijuana laws. But now one Democratic congresswoman is actually doing something about it.
California Representative Barbara Lee introduced a new bill called the Restraining Excessive Federal Enforcement & Regulations of Cannabis (REFER) Act. The bill would prevent the federal government from spending any money to detain, sentence, prosecute or initiate civil proceedings against people or companies in the cannabis industry if they are abiding by their state laws. The bill would also abolish restrictions on banks from working with marijuana companies.
The REFER Act is similar to the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, except the amendment only applies to the medical marijuana industry and needs to be renewed every so often. The REFER Act would also protect recreational marijuana laws and would be a permanent law. It would not change the federal status of marijuana, so it would still be illegal at the national level as well as states that have not passed legalized marijuana laws.
Of course, it's unclear if the REFER Act would even pass. Congress has refused to extend the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment indefinitely, so it's hard to imagine they'd be willing to vote for a bill that expands the scope of that amendment. And then there's the issue of whether the Senate and President Trump would also sign onto the bill.
But still, at least Lee is attempting to undo the damage done by Sessions rather than simply making a statement about it and moving on.