Some of the most conservative Republicans in Congress are leading the charge to end their federal government's war on pot. They introduced a bill, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, in the House last week. The legislation would mean the feds would have to accept state laws that legalize or decriminalize production or possession of marijuana.
Depending on the state, the legislation would cover both medical
marijuana and recreational pot, and would protect not only the users of
state-legal cannabis, but also the businesses that cultivate, process,
distribute and sell marijuana in these states.
The legislation is in keeping with poll data released last week from Pew Research
that found that 60 percent of Americans believe the feds should allow
states to self-regulate when it comes to marijuana. The same poll finds
that 57 percent of Republicans also favor this approach, which may
explain why this bill is attracting arch-conservative backers in the
Steve Fox, national political director of the Marijuana Policy Project,
hailed the effort to bend federal marijuana law to the will of the
governed. "Marijuana prohibition is on its last legs because most
Americans no longer support it," said Fox, adding that the new
legislation offers the states'-rights crowd in the House with a chance
to vote their principles: "This legislation presents a perfect
opportunity for members to embrace the notion that states should be able
to devise systems for regulating marijuana without their citizens
having to worry about breaking federal law."