Lisa, Dan, Don unite on side of cannabis, states' rights - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, July 29, 2021
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Lisa, Dan, Don unite on side of cannabis, states’ rights

DELEGATION SAYS IT’S ‘HIGH TIME’

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young have added their support for legislation to protect states, like Alaska, that have legalized marijuana.

Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) reintroduced bipartisan legislation, The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act, to remove the threat of federal intervention and prosecution in states that regulate marijuana use and sales.

Reps. David Joyce (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) reintroduced the STATES Act in the House.

The bill aims to ensure states’ right to determine how they want to regulate marijuana within their borders.

Murkowski said that the act balances the interests of states that want to regulate pot for recreation or medical uses, and those that do not. “It establishes that stringent state marijuana regulatory regimes, like those which exist in Alaska, have supremacy over federal drug control laws,” she said.

“At the same time, it does not impair the effectiveness of federal marijuana prohibitions in states that have elected not to legalize,” Sen. Murkowski said. “By reinforcing that the states have supremacy when it comes to marijuana regulation, we are eliminating confusion, and more importantly empowering and protecting states’ rights.”

Sullivan called it an urgent matter of states’ rights: “The STATES Act – legislation supported by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle – offers a state-based solution to areas where state and federal marijuana laws are in conflict, including issues relating to production, sale, distribution, and enforcement, and longstanding challenges surrounding banking and the lack of access to financial institutions for marijuana-related businesses.”

Congressman Don Young is the co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus and has been supporting states’ rights in cannabis policy for years, “and it is high time Congress acts to get the Federal government out of the way,” he said. “Frankly, our archaic laws urgently need to be reformed. I am proud to be cosponsoring the STATES Act because it not only helps defend states’ rights — a central promise of our Constitution — but protects the decision made by my constituents to legalize recreational marijuana in Alaska. As more states continue to reform their cannabis laws, the Federal government must keep up to provide stability to entrepreneurs, financial institutions, patients, and others. I am pleased that Alaska’s Congressional Delegation is now united on this issue, and I pledge to keep working with friends on both sides of the aisle to bring our laws into the future.”

BILL DETAILS

  • Amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) so that – as long as states and tribal nations comply with a few basic protections – 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.
  • Continues to apply the following federal criminal provisions under the CSA by prohibiting:
    • Endangerment of human life while manufacturing a controlled substance; and
    • Employment of persons under age 18 in marijuana operations.
  • Prohibits the distribution of marijuana at transportation safety facilities such as rest areas and truck stops.
  • Bars the distribution or sale of marijuana to persons under the age of 21 other than for medical purposes.
  • Instructs the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the effects of marijuana legalization on traffic safety, including whether states are able to accurately evaluate marijuana impairment, testing standards used by these states, and a detailed assessment of traffic incidents.
  • Addresses financial issues caused by federal prohibition by clearly stating that compliant transactions are not trafficking and do not result in proceeds of an unlawful transaction.
  • Contains common-sense guardrails to ensure that states, territories, and tribal nations regulating marijuana do so in a manner that is safe and respectful of the impacts on their neighbors.

Background: A fact sheet about the legislation is available here, and the full bill text is available here.

 

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I have long wondered why Democrats haven’t moved to legalize the use of marijuana? Why must it be a Republican led effort? One answer may be: Gun Control.
    Democrats would cross their own Rubicon if they removed marijuana from the controlled substances list. To do so would legalized firearms ownership for marijuana users. Users they explicitly prohibited from owning firearms in 1968. Democrats listed marijuana users, along with felons, those adjudicated mentally ill, etc., as “prohibited persons” in their Gun Control Act of 1968.
    The effort by Murkowski, Sullivan and Young, as described above, appears to keep the 1968 gun ownership prohibition in place for users of marijuana, thereby giving it a greater likelihood of Democrat support and passage?
    It was a democrat Senate and a Democrat House that sent the 1968 Gun Control Act to Democrat President Lyndon Johnson to be signed into Law. That makes it hard for Democrats to reverse their long standing position on who is prohibited from buying, possessing or selling a firearm.
    If you’ve bought a firearm since 1968, you’ve read the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) Form 4473 and certified under (e) that you are not an unlawful user of marijuana. Recently ATF added to the form: “Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”
    Given their strong support for gun control would a Democrat president in 2020 order the removal of firearms from households in any state with relaxed marijuana laws? The ATF, during the Obama Administration, prohibited those with a medical marijuana permit from purchasing a firearm. Would the purchase of a hunting license and purchase records for marijuana would be sufficient for a federal prosecutor under a Democrat Administration to obtain a search warrant and seize a hunter’s firearms?
    For this reason I think only Republicans can relax the marijuana laws. Under this theory, Democrats can only support relaxing the marijuana laws if done in a manner that continues to prohibit marijuana users from owning firearms. Which the proposal appears to do.
    Perhaps they can justify it on the grounds that users of marijuana were all committing a federal crime when they purchased marijuana, now they are only committing the crime of gun ownership – which Democrats seem to equate with criminality anyway?
    It’s a theory.

    • So I guess you don’t know what bipartisan means. Always a rant

  • There’s money in them thar pills (THC).

    .

    It doesn’t matter if you can’t walk a block in any town without thinking someone’s imported skunks to Alaska and drooling idiots check their smartphones to see where the nearest pot shop is whilst smoking and driving. (You can always tell by the speed and hesitancy whenever they have to stop or turn a corner.)

  • Wonder what’ll happen to the cash-only part of the business if their bill passes…
    .
    Marvelous money-laundering opportunities could go away if their bill passes…
    .
    Good news is Alaskans don’t need to worry about Supreme Court nominees, illegal-alien invasions, bum invasions, human trafficking, Russia-collusion hoaxes, subsidized baby butchery, Chinese cyberwar, unintended consequences of disrupting the Mexican dope industry, or anything else…
    .
    because Lisa, Dan, Don, and the party of Hillary Clinton are taking care of America’s dope industry…
    .
    …in a bipartisan way of course.

  • This is a really sad day. Marijuana makes people less intelligent. Apparently it has made the Congressional delegation less intelligent as well.

  • What has happened to the anti-smoking lobby? Isn’t this a tobacco like substance?

  • Sounds like sensible work on the part of Congress in light of the end on Cannabis Prohibition in North America…
    I am sure Wall Street is thinking we better hurry up and “make this fully legal” otherwise banks in the U.S. are poised to loose a ton of money as Canada has already fully legalized the cultivation and sale of Cannabis to our North.
    Many people who do not smoke weed still are seeing benifits from the CBD derivatives of Hemp.
    Remember that Cannabis was not illegal when our country was founded and I believe George Washington grew a ton of Hemp!

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