Saturday, May 25, 2013

Washington Marijuana Reform Law has New Sponsor in Rep. Smith

Washington Representative Adam Smith has joined a coalition in Congress that is actively seeking to reform federal marijuana laws. Most importantly, this coalition wants the federal government to respect the rights of the states and their voters—especially those states that have already legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana. Smith has signed onto the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act which would immunize individuals and businesses that operate legally under their own state laws. This bill is a bipartisan bill and has the support of both Democrats and Republicans alike.

At the present time, 18 states have legalized medical marijuana dispensaries and 2 states (Washington and Colorado) have legalized recreational marijuana. As it stands, all of these states and individuals are still considered in violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act which makes possession and distribution of marijuana a crime.

The Respect States Marijuana Laws Act has bipartisan sponsors such as Alaska Representative Don Young, Colorado Representative Jared Polis, and Oregon Representative Blumenauer. Smith is the first Washington lawmaker to fully support the Act and has the appreciation of the entire state's marijuana reform supporters and the ACLU of Washington.

The federal government's Federal Controlled Substances Act continues to stand in the way of marijuana reform and stands to jeopardize the new recreational marijuana industry in the State of Washington. Just last month, several medical marijuana dispensaries in the State of Washington received "cease and desist" letters ordering them to close up their shops—even though they were compliant with all state laws. If they fail to do so within 30 days, the letter stated that they would risk their property being seized by the federal government for being in violation of federal drug laws. 

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