Bipartisan marijuana descheduling bill reintroduced in Congress

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Bipartisan legislation that would remove state-legal marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act and leave individual markets in charge of most other regulation was reintroduced in Congress on Thursday.

Originally introduced in 2019 in both the House and the Senate, the latest Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act goes a step further than the ongoing federal rescheduling review.

If the STATES Act were to pass in this Republican-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden:

  • Marijuana that’s produced and sold “in compliance with State and Tribal law” would no longer be covered by the Controlled Substances Act, the office of Ohio Republican Rep. Dave Joyce said in a statement.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration would be responsible for classifying marijuana products by category to ensure they pass safety and marketing standards. However, marijuana products would not be subject to the onerous FDA preapproval process.
  • The bill would legalize interstate commerce, according to the Cato Institute.
  • Federal prohibitions on distributing marijuana to those 21 and younger and employing anyone younger than 18 in cannabis-related work would remain in place.

The new STATES Act is sponsored Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon; Rep. Troy Carter, D-Louisiana; Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R-Oregon; and Joyce.

The earlier House and Senate versions of the legislation failed to receive a hearing in Congress.

“The STATES Act does what every federal bill should do – help all 50 states succeed,” Joyce said in a statement.

“This bill respects the will of the states that have legalized cannabis in some form and allows them to implement their own policies without fear of repercussion from the federal government.”