Why the New Bill to Protect Legalized Marijuana States May Actually Stand a Chance

Last week Senators Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren introduced the STATES Act, a bill that would protect states that legalize marijuana. But will the bill actually gain traction in Congress?

Many early signs indicate the STATES Act could become the cannabis bill that finally makes it through Congress. Several important governors wrote a letter earlier this week calling on Congress to pass the bill, and other prominent politicians have voiced their support as well. Even President Donald Trump told the press he would "probably" sign the bill if it was put in front of him.

The Washington Post analyzed the STATES Act and said they believed it's the perfect marijuana bill for Republicans to support. It doesn't change federal law regarding cannabis, so they can continue pushing their outdated "marijuana is evil" argument. But it would also allow them to say, "But hey, if the states want it, we'll let them do it."

Many have noted that the STATES Act is the rare instance where Senator Warren, one of the more progressive and liberal voices in the Senate, is on the same side as ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who has long been critical of the federal government's regulation of cannabis.

The Wall Street Journal also ran an article yesterday showing how much Attorney General Jeff Sessions has struggled to begin his marijuana crackdown. In fact, Sessions may almost be relenting in his cannabis fight. In a public event last week, Sessions did not discuss marijuana legalization once, and that's usually a topic he's more than happy to attack.

The bill has also received the support not only of the cannabis industry but also from banking interests who believe the new law would help clear up the confusion that's sprung up regarding marijuana businesses and banking.

So it's possible the STATES Act could finally be the first major marijuana bill to actually pass Congress.

(h/t Leafly)


2020 presidential candidate Cory Booker (D-NJ) has announced a plan to grant clemency to thousands of people serving time for federal drug convictions. Last Thursday, Booker released his 'Restoring Justice' plan, which would offer clemency to more than 17,000 individuals who are currently doing time for nonviolent drug convictions. Booker pledged to implement the plan immediately upon taking office via an executive order as a means to address the huge disparities in drug policing.

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