Senators introduce bipartisan bill to protect state laws on marijuana

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations Progressive activist Ady Barkan endorses Biden, urges him to pick Warren as VP Congress must act now to fix a Social Security COVID-19 glitch and expand, not cut, benefits MORE (D-Mass.) and Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court orders Dakota Access Pipeline to shut down | Energy companies cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline | House rejects Trump cuts, proposes boost for environmental agencies Senate outlook slides for GOP MORE (R-Colo.) introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday that would allow states to regulate marijuana without federal interference. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Warren and Gardner, who both represent states with legal recreational pot, introduced the legislation, known as Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, as a response to the Trump administration's hard-line stance against the drug. 

The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act to include a framework that says it no longer applies to those following state, territory or tribal laws “relating to the manufacture, production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of [marijuana]."

"It’s time to reform American’s outdated marijuana policies," Warren tweeted with a video of her and Gardner speaking at a press conference announcing the measure.  

Gardner said outlawing legalized pot was like “putting the ketchup back in the bottle," and hit current finance laws for making it difficult for marijuana businesses, because the substance is illegal according to the federal government.

“This city of Denver, the state of Colorado, can collect taxes … they can take it to the bank,” Gardner said. “But if you’re in the business, if you work for the business, you can’t get a bank loan or set up a bank account because of the concern over the conflict between the state and federal law. We need to fix this public hypocrisy.”

Warren and Gardner had announced a partnership in April in an attempt to hold President TrumpDonald John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE to his word about respecting states rights.

Warren reportedly said the goal of the legislation is to “ensure that each state has the right to determine for itself the best approach to marijuana within its borders.”

Warren and Gardner's proposed legislation comes in the face of increasing opposition toward marijuana from the White House.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard Sessions Senate outlook slides for GOP Supreme Court blocks order that relaxed voting restrictions in Alabama Justice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report MORE, a vocal critic of marijuana legalization, in January rolled back an Obama-era policy that gave states freedom to manage recreational use. 

In May 2017, he sent a letter to congressional leaders asking that they eliminate an amendment that prohibits the Justice Department from using federal money to prevent states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."

Recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and Washington, D.C., and medical marijuana is legal in another 29.