A bipartisan bill was offered in the House on Thursday with the aim to protect marijuana users from federal enforcement in states where cannabis is legal. This new bill comes in response to Jeff Sessions’ announcement earlier this year that he is rescinding the Cole Memo (brought in under the Obama administration) which prohibited federal law enforcement agencies from interfering in legal marijuana affairs in states where weed is legal.
The bill was introduced by Representative Lou Correa (D) from California and Matt Gaetz (R) from Florida. The bill is known as the “Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act” and aims to closely resemble the now rescinded Cole Memo.
The representatives claim the new bill would ensure the protection of marijuana users in states where cannabis use is legal.
“To date, eight states have legalized recreational cannabis, and twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia, representing more than half of the American population, have enacted legislation to permit the use of cannabis,” Correa said in a statement.
Correa also noted that Sessions’ actions have “put citizens in jeopardy for following their state laws.”
While Sessions’ has not explicitly called for action from federal law enforcement agencies to start prosecuting marijuana users and business, his actions throw the door wide open and have caused a lot of confusion and anxiety among the cannabis community in legal states.
Both Correa and Gaetz hope to pass this bill through an act of Congress, making it more substantial than its predecessor.
“We are a nation of laws, not department-wide memos. We should not tell prosecutors to ‘pick and choose’ what laws to uphold,” Gaetz said. “When federal law conflicts with states laws and the will of the American people, it’s time to change the laws.”
For cannabis advocates across the country, whilst this new bill does aim to protect marijuana users, the question remains as to why the federal government doesn’t just reschedule cannabis altogether. The conflict between federal and state law continues to cause multiple issues when it comes to cannabis and until this conflict is resolved, will marijuana users and businesses ever truly feel protected?