Lead image via PaceDM
2018 might just be the year that the federal government finally takes steps to enact some measure of cannabis reform. A new bill to protect canna-legal states from federal interference has received unprecedented support from a bipartisan group of state governors and even President Trump himself. The bill, officially known as the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018, would essentially prevent the federal government from interfering with any state, U.S. territory, or tribal land that chooses to legalize or decriminalize cannabis in any form.
Earlier this year, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner managed to wrangle a promise from President Trump to support legislation to protect canna-legal states. Immediately following this promise, Gardner announced that he was working with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren to draft just such a bill, which has materialized this month as the STATES Act. On Friday, the president somewhat reaffirmed his promise, telling reporters that he “probably will end up supporting” this new bill.
The STATES Act would not legalize cannabis on a federal level, but would amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) so that “its provisions no longer apply to any person acting in compliance with state or tribal laws relating to the manufacture, production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marijuana.” The bill would also exclude industrial hemp from the definition of “marihuana” in the CSA.
On top of that, the proposed legislation would also ensure that all financial transactions connected to state-legal cannabis operations are no longer considered illegal drug trafficking. This change would free up the financial industry to serve the cannabis industry without fear of federal censure, finally allowing canna-businesses access to banks, loans, and tax deductions.
The bill does prohibit anyone under 18 from working in a cannabis facility, and also prohibits the