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house Bill H.R. 493

Protecting Residents of States With Legal Marijuana From Federal Prosecution

Argument in favor

Residents of states that have legalized marijuana — either for medical or recreational use — were protected from prosecution under federal until January 2018, when AG Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era memo on the issue. This bill merely brings that Obama-era memo back into effect.

Sandra's Opinion
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02/21/2019
Marijuana should be legalized at the federal level and taxed just like cigarettes and alcohol. You should also be charged for DUI just like you are for alcohol and prescription drugs
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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02/21/2019
Just legalize it at the Federal level and tax it as you do alcohol, which it is safer than, and the problem is solved while Big Pharma doesn’t get to gouge the Republic.
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Sylvie 's Opinion
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02/21/2019
People who use weed in states where it is legal should absolutely not be prosecuted by the DOJ. Those who are always invoking State Rights to justify opposition to federal laws they do not support on topics like abortion and education cannot now turn around and call on the feds to ignore a state’s laws without being branded as hypocrites. Time for the feds to get on board and reform marijuana laws.
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Argument opposed

Since marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, it makes sense that the DOJ should remain able to prosecute people — including residents of states that have legalized marijuana — for marijuana use or possession under federal law.

Robert 's Opinion
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02/21/2019
If fact Marijuana is now list as a schedule I drug which mean the feds would be required to go after the people in states that have passed legal marijuana. If a state like California passed Heroin as a legal recreational drug that did not require a prescription well would you have any problem with that? The answer is the feds can move the classification of marijuana from schedule I to schedule V and then the states can pass their own laws and not worry about Federal Agencies stepping in.
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Joe's Opinion
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02/21/2019
Laws need to be enforced until they are changed. Drug dealer states should forfeit all of their assets. Legislators should go to jail. When a majority of congress votes to make pot legal I’ll light up, but until then respect for our legal system is more important than getting stoned.
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SneakyPete's Opinion
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02/25/2019
House Bill HR 493 AKA the Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act -2019 I stand opposed to the House Bill H.R. 493 AKA the Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act of 2019, WHICH would prohibit the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting individuals engaged in activities relating to medical or recreational cannabis permitted under state law under most circumstances. Since marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, it makes sense that the DOJ should remain able to prosecute people — including residents of states that have legalized marijuana — for marijuana use or possession under federal law. SneakyPete.......... 👎🏻🌿🌿🌿👎🏻. 2*25*19..........
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 11th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 493?

This bill, the Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act of 2019, would prohibit the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting individuals engaged in activities relating to medical or recreational cannabis permitted under state law under most circumstances.

Prosecution could still occur in the following instances:

  • Distribution of cannabis to minors;
  • Revenue from the sale of cannabis going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels;
  • Diversion of cannabis from states where it’s legal under state law to other states, where it remains illegal;
  • State-authorized cannabis activity being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;
  • Violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of cannabis;
  • Drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with cannabis use;
  • Growing of cannabis on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by cannabis production on public lands; and
  • Cannabis possession or use on federal property.

Impact

Residents of states with legal marijuana; states that have legalized marijuana; federal law enforcement; and the DOJ.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 493

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Louis “Lou” Correa (D-CA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to provide stability and certainty to individuals, businesses, and programs operating in accordance with state cannabis laws:

“[This bill will] provide stability and certainty to individuals, businesses, and programs operating in accordance with state cannabis laws. In 2013, then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued a memorandum that enumerated conditions under which federal enforcement of cannabis would occur. The Cole Memo directed federal prosecutors not to interfere with states’ efforts to legalize cannabis provided certain actions were taken. Among those actions were that states adopt reasonable regulations to prevent the diversion of cannabis outside state borders and the prevention of cannabis use by minors. To date, ten states allow recreational cannabis while thirty states and the District of Columbia permit some form of medical cannabis use. In January 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo. That decision affects states that have in good faith implemented laws and regulations based on the Cole Memo. The repeal of the Cole Memo contravenes the will of the American public. Furthermore, this decision will negatively affect numerous Americans who utilize cannabis for medical purposes. In response, the Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act will prevent the U.S. Department of Justice from prosecuting individuals engaged in activities related to medical or recreational cannabis permitted under state law.”

Last Congress, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal observed that there is now significant public support for ending marijuana prohibition:

“Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition, and that is reflected by the sheer number of bills introduced in the Congress. From lawmakers experimenting with policy tweaks to expand access to research by the VA to the bipartisan effort to outright deschedule marijuana with The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, for the first time ever, the full spectrum of reform efforts is pending.”

Vista Green Group says this bill will provide a stable business environment to help cannabis businesses thrive, benefitting local economies:

“The Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act essentially would give peace of mind to lawmakers, regulators, 149,000+ workers, and the millions of patients and consumers who are dependent on the normalization of lawful marijuana markets. The most essential component in creating a stable business environment to meet consumer demand is certainty, and that is what states and businesses would have with Congressman Correa’s legislation to protect state-lawful programs from potential rouge US Attorneys under a Department of Justice likely to be led by known drug warrior William Barr. To date, these statewide regulatory programs are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safety, crime rates, traffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated economic development and created hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue. Tax revenues from states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now exceed initial projections. Further, numerous studies have identified an association between cannabis access and lower rates of opioid use, abuse, hospitalizations, and mortality.”

In January 2018, a bipartisan group of 53 House and Senate members sent a bipartisan letter to President Trump requesting that he urge then-AG Jeff Sessions to reinstate the Cole Memorandum in order to create a pathway to more comprehensive marijuana policy that respects state interests. In their letter, the legislators wrote:

“[State legalization laws have] helped eliminate the black market sale of marijuana and allowed law enforcement to focus on real threats to public health and safety. [The DOJ’s recession of the Cole Memorandum] has the potential to unravel efforts to build sensible drug policies that encourage economic development as we finally move away from antiquated practices that have hurt disadvantaged communities.”

In April 2018, in order to end a months-long standoff over DOJ nominees, President Trump promised Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) that he’d support congressional efforts to protect states that have legalized marijuana. Additionally, during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said, “we should leave (marijuana) up to the states.”

This bill has nine bipartisan cosponsors, including seven Democrats and two Republicans, in the current Congress. It also has the support of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). Last Congress, it had four bipartisan cosponsors, including three Democrats and one Republican.

This is the fourth standalone cannabis bill to be filed in the 116th Congress. Nearly 50 cannabis-related bills on issues including rescheduling, states’ rights, and criminal justice reforms were introduced last Congress.


Of NoteAuthored in August 2013 by then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole, the “Cole Memo” is an Obama-era memo that relaxed enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where marijuana is legal. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the memo in January 2018. When he rescinded the Cole Memo, Sessioned called the Obama administration’s policies shield individuals in legal marijuana states from prosecution “unnecessary,” and added:

“I cannot and will not pretend that a duly enacted law of this country — like the federal ban on marijuana — does not exist. Marijuana is illegal in the United States — even in Colorado, California, and everywhere else in America.”

Under the scheduling system, the federal government classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, making it illegal in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, despite state laws legalizing marijuana use. To date, 30 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place allowing the use of medical or recreational marijuana.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Yarygin)

AKA

Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act of 2019

Official Title

To direct the Attorney General, in enforcing the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act relating to marijuana, to focus on certain enforcement priorities.

    Marijuana should be legalized at the federal level and taxed just like cigarettes and alcohol. You should also be charged for DUI just like you are for alcohol and prescription drugs
    Like (216)
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    If fact Marijuana is now list as a schedule I drug which mean the feds would be required to go after the people in states that have passed legal marijuana. If a state like California passed Heroin as a legal recreational drug that did not require a prescription well would you have any problem with that? The answer is the feds can move the classification of marijuana from schedule I to schedule V and then the states can pass their own laws and not worry about Federal Agencies stepping in.
    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
    Just legalize it at the Federal level and tax it as you do alcohol, which it is safer than, and the problem is solved while Big Pharma doesn’t get to gouge the Republic.
    Like (118)
    Follow
    Share
    People who use weed in states where it is legal should absolutely not be prosecuted by the DOJ. Those who are always invoking State Rights to justify opposition to federal laws they do not support on topics like abortion and education cannot now turn around and call on the feds to ignore a state’s laws without being branded as hypocrites. Time for the feds to get on board and reform marijuana laws.
    Like (88)
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    Just legalize it already!!
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    This is a total no-brainer--the government itself should reverse these archaic laws concerning marijuana and the cultivation of hemp products. Leave this to the states if the federal government won't come into the 21st Century. The opioid crisis is exponentially by far more urgent, than prosecution of a plant that has been shown to have many benefits and applications
    Like (37)
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    Legalize marijuana already - collect the taxes, release people from prisons because of possession, and sit back and relax.
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    Marijuana should be legalized nationwide. Since it is not specifically mentioned in the constitution, the 10th bill of rights allow states to determine the legality of pot. Tell the feds to keep their hands off
    Like (31)
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    Laws need to be enforced until they are changed. Drug dealer states should forfeit all of their assets. Legislators should go to jail. When a majority of congress votes to make pot legal I’ll light up, but until then respect for our legal system is more important than getting stoned.
    Like (19)
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    Absolutely! Thank you, Rep. Correa (D-CA), for bringing back the Obama legislation that, initially, allowed this. The Repugnants would rather see us rot in jail than do something sensible! Sure do hope they’re the ones that rot in jail, instead! 🤞
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    Haven’t people been brining up this issue since it was first legalized for recreational use? Why did it take so long?
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    The government needs to treat this the same as prohibition. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.
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    It should be the same as booze and cigs. Put a sales tax on it. If for fun. None if for medical
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    It’s time to decriminalize this plant. Alcohol is a known carcinogen. Tobacco kills thousands of people a day. If you truly want to help your constituents, not just by recreational usage but real medical conditions then this is the only right decision. We will remember this come election time.
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    It should be legal just like alcohol. It can also be regulated and taxed in the same manner. Colorado climbed out of a financial hole when they legalized it and crime actually went down! The federal government has printing offices and can contract certain farmers in each state to produce the crop. Once the crop is harvested, rope, paper, the smokeable product and medications can be made from the plants plus it’s a renewable crop. Right now, big pharma is against legalization because it will cut into their profits. Homeopathic medicine and naturopathic medicine work.
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    My wife’s chronic pain for the last 6 years has been debilitating even when taking Rx opioids. She is on disability due to the pain. She is now off opioids and is using medical marijuana, which is significantly helping her pain. It’s time for the Federal government to acknowledge that there are medically beneficial reasons for people to use marijuana and the Feds should not add to a patient’s anxiety with the threat of being charged for marijuana possession.
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    Don’t you have bigger fish to fry than prosecuting people who are using something legally in their state?
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    we the people of the state i live in voted it in and that about covers that so dont fuck up a good thing that isnt hurting anyone else so leave it alone --,the drug companies arnt loosing any money because we smoke ---one thing that can be done is to keep the drug companies out of it all together --dont let them start their testing and changing shit like they did the food we now have to eat and is killing us --they could fuck us up with them involved
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    I think it’s better to legalize it already, and tax the snot out of it. Common sugar has been responsible for more deaths than marijuana.
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    The War on Drugs is over and marijuana criminalization needs to end. This is a good first step towards legalization which should be the goal in the near future.
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