WASHINGTON (CBS4) – Two U.S. senators — Colorado Republican Cory Gardner and Massachussetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren — are teaming up on the marijuana front. They want to make sure the federal government does not interfere with states’ rights.
The two lawmakers made it clear in a news conference on Thursday they are not out to legalize pot nationwide. Under a bill they introduced, federal law will still apply in states that have not legalized marijuana but, states that have, like Colorado, would now be exempt from the federal Controlled Substances Act which criminalizes pot.
There are some exceptions. Marijuana businesses still couldn’t employ anyone under age 18 and couldn’t distrubute marijuana at places like rest areas and truck stops, which are hubs for traffickers.
Gardner says the bill will protect public safety by giving legitimate marijuana businesses acccess to banking. He says the conflict between state and federal law has created a public hypocricy.
“The city of Denver, the state of Colorado can collect taxes, Massachusetts businesses can collect taxes, they can take it to bank. 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,” he said.
“We’re trying to respect the voters of our states that said this is how we want do business around marijuana here in Massachusetts, here in Colorado. And we just want the federal government to get out of way and let them do it,” Warren said.
The lawmakers say the bill would also pave the way for more marijuana-related research in states that have legalized pot. They have wide bipartisan support for the bill and Gardner says President Donald Trump is also on board.