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Michigan Lawmakers May Ask Congress To Clarify Legality of Marijuana

Despite progress, there remains a disconnect between federal and state marijuana laws.

Congress Renews Key Medical Marijuana Protections

Lawmakers in Michigan are considering a resolution that would bring the awkward tension over marijuana between the states and federal government to the forefront. 

Voters in Michigan passed a measure in 2018 legalizing recreational pot, bringing the state in the ranks of the nearly dozen other states that have ended the prohibition on weed. But cannabis remains classified as a Schedule I narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, effectively making it illegal nationwide. And while states like Colorado have established a marijuana market largely free of interference from the feds, the disconnect looms over the policies. 

The bill being taken up in Michigan’s state House would seek to redress that by formally asking the United States Congress to “clarify its position on the legality of marijuana” under the Controlled Substances Act. “Despite federal law criminalizing marijuana, many states have exercised their authority to enact marijuana laws that reflect the needs and interests of their citizens,” the bill reads. 

It continues: “The federal government’s lack of clarity and inconsistency in its interpretation of the legality of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 has created confusion and uncertainty for states legislating marijuana operations.” The conflict between state and federal law, the bill says, “affects law enforcement, banking, taxation, and zoning.” 

The Bill Could Go All The Way To The Top

The bill is sponsored by Republican state Rep. Jeff Yaroch. According to MLive.com, it is scheduled to be debated by the state Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Should it make it out of the committee, it will then go to the full House. If it were to pass the legislature, the resolution would be delivered to members of Congress and President Donald Trump.

Michigan voters passed a measure in 2018 legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older by a margin of 56 percent-44 percent. The law took effect last year, with weed sales starting in the first week of December. Despite having only five dispensaries open that first week, marijuana sales still reached nearly $1.63 million. 

The staggering demand caught some dispensaries off guard, with one store even running out of marijuana flower in just the first two days of opening. Michigan became the 10th state to legalize recreational pot use with its passage of the ballot measure in 2018. Ten years prior, voters there approved a medical marijuana program.

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