Marking a significant development in the cannabis world, Representative Dave Joyce, a prominent figure and Co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, has introduced a revamped version of the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act. The bipartisan bill, now referred to as STATES 2.0, aims to redefine cannabis regulation in the United States, which could have a significant impact on your state.
Unlike its predecessor, the STATES 2.0 Act goes beyond merely removing cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). It seeks to grant individual states the autonomy to formulate and implement their unique cannabis legalization policies. The proposed legislation recognizes the diverse approaches taken by states that have already embraced cannabis in various forms.
Representative Joyce emphasized the bill’s commitment to fostering success for all 50 states, affirming that it respects the will of states that have legalized cannabis, allowing them to implement their own policies without fear of repercussion from the federal government.
One of the pivotal aspects of STATES 2.0 is its alignment with the Tenth Amendment, emphasizing the powers reserved to the states. The legislation endeavors to eliminate marijuana from the federal CSA, effectively removing it from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances. The move holds particular significance, as it would represent a departure from the Biden administration’s inclination toward rescheduling in favor of complete descheduling.
The bill further seeks to decriminalize the use, sale, or transfer of marijuana at the federal level for individuals complying with their respective state regulations. Importantly, it opens avenues for interstate commerce in marijuana, allowing transportation or shipment through states or territories where it is legal. To regulate interstate marijuana commerce and ensure compliance, the federal government would play a role through authorized bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Notably, the bill addresses financial transactions involving marijuana retailers, ensuring compliance with state laws is not considered drug trafficking under federal law.
The legislation acknowledges the need for a federal excise tax on marijuana, emphasizing its role in supporting critical components such as administration, oversight, and consumer safety protections. Strikingly, the bill aims to set a low federal excise tax to prevent exacerbating existing high state taxes and the potential shift of consumers to the black market. In emphasizing states’ rights, STATES 2.0 pays homage to historical precedents, such as the post-alcohol prohibition era. The bill acknowledges the varying approaches taken by states in either prohibiting, legalizing, or regulating marijuana, limiting federal interference in states’ decisions.
This revised version of the STATES Act, with its bipartisan support and in light of the overwhelming public support for marijuana legalization, marks a substantial leap toward aligning federal marijuana policy with the will of the people. It provides an opportunity for policymakers to bridge the gap between Washington and the American populace on this pressing issue. As the legislative motions unfold, STATES 2.0 promises to reshape the future of cannabis regulation in the United States, offering a balanced approach that respects both federal and state outlooks.