A bipartisan group of senators and representatives introduced a historic bill that can change the legal landscape surrounding Cannabis industry. The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Entrusting States (STATES) Act would exempt state-legal marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. This will allow every state to legalize and regulate cannabis (or keep it illegal) as they want.
In a joint press conference, Sen. Gardner emphasized that the act would not mandate full nationwide legalization of cannabis i.e. if a state legalizes Cannabis, federal prohibitions would not imply. However, if the state chooses to do nothing, cannabis would remain federally illegal.
10th Amendment Foundation
The bill’s legal foundation rests on the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
An official description of the measure states, “strengthening the Tenth Amendment …ensures that each state has the right to determine for itself the best approach to marijuana within its borders.”
Major highlights of STATES Act.
- Exempts State-legal Cannabis from CSA: CSA provisions no longer apply to any person acting in compliance with state or tribal laws and protection relating to marijuana activities.
- Compliant transactions are not trafficking: The Act states that compliant transactions are not trafficking and do not result in proceeds of an unlawful transaction. This would put an end to the difficulties cannabis companies have in obtaining banking services.
- Industrial hemp removed from the list of controlled substances under CSA.
- The following federal criminal provisions under the CSA continue to apply:
- Prohibits endangering human life while manufacturing marijuana.
- Prohibits employment of persons under age 18 in drug operations.
- The act prohibits the distribution of marijuana at transportation safety facilities like rest areas and truck stops.
- The measure prohibits the distribution or sale of marijuana to persons under the age of 21 other than for medical purposes.
Implications of the STATES Act for CBD merchants
- Protection from federal interference: The STATES Act would protect states from federal interference by creating an exemption to the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, which prohibits marijuana for those states that have enacted legal cannabis laws, and would remove industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act entirely.
- Safe banking practices may become easily available: Supporters say that the bill would also allow cannabis businesses to take advantage of safe banking practices enjoyed by most other legal businesses, which it could not enjoy due to federally illegal status.
- Legislative “guardrails”: STATES Act would also create legislative “guardrails” to maintain certain federal limits for states’ budding cannabis industries; they include;
- A minimum age of 18 to work in Cannabis industry.
- a minimum age of 21 to purchase marijuana unless prescribed by a doctor, and
- room to define and prohibit “unsafe production conditions”
- Prohibited distribution: It would prohibit cannabis distribution at transportation facilities such as rest areas and truck stops.
Here is a full copy of the STATES Act bill.
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