While confusion and chaos reign in just about every corner of the White House and the nervous cannabis community is forced to hang on to every word of pot-hating Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a woman’s voice rises above the noise—a Congresswoman that is.
Representative Suzan DelBene from Washington State has reintroduced a bill aimed at protecting states rights to regulate marijuana.
DelBene reintroduced the State Marijuana And Regulatory Tolerance (SMART) Enforcement Act, H.R. 3534, which aims to protect medical patients, recreational users and businesses in states that have legalized and regulated marijuana, from being prosecuted now or in the future.
“My bill will fix the conflict between state and federal law by giving states effectively regulating marijuana themselves, such as Washington, a waiver from the Controlled Substances Act,” DelBene said in a press release from her congressional office.
“It also resolves the banking issues currently forcing dispensaries to operate on an unsafe, all-cash basis,” she continued. “These waivers will ensure people in states that have different laws than the federal government on marijuana are protected from prosecution, provided they meet certain requirements, as more and more states work to regulate marijuana in their own borders.”
Despite over half of the country having legalized some form of marijuana, the DEA’s Controlled Substances Act and Jeff Sessions’ obsession with weed has put everyone, including cancer patients and families of children with epilepsy who are having phenomenal results with medical marijuana, at risk of prosecution.
“People in these states should not live in fear of the unpredictable actions of the attorney general and Department of Justice,” said DelBene.
DelBene pointed out that states are unable to effectively regulate their legal cannabis industries because they are being hamstrung by the federal government. She said the SMART Enforcement Act would fix this issue by adhering to Obama-era U.S. Department of Justice guidance, known as the Cole Memo, on marijuana enforcement.
Keep in mind that the Cole Memo is the only thing standing between the legal cannabis industry and federal enforcement—so needless to say, it’s quite important.
Under the Cole Memo, adopted in 2013, if legal marijuana states implement a strict regulatory framework, the federal government will leave the states alone.
Jeff Sessions inherited the Cole Amendment from one of his predecessors, James M. Cole, but cannot seem to swallow.
The DOJ, under Sessions, must abide by the law and the wishes of the country if we are to believe that we still live in a democracy.
“According to a 2017 Quinnipiac national poll, 73 percent of Americans oppose the federal government interfering in state legal marijuana programs,” said Justin Strekal, NORML’s political director. “The SMART Enforcement Act would give peace of mind to lawmakers, regulators, patients, consumers and the 123,000 Americans who now have jobs dependent on the normalization of the lawful marijuana market.”