June 27, 2019

Wyden, Blumenauer Introduce Legislation to Protect State Cannabis Programs from Federal Interference, Allow for Interstate Commerce

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer today introduced the State Cannabis Commerce Act to permanently protect all state cannabis programs from federal interference and allow for interstate cannabis commerce between states like Oregon with legal cannabis programs.

Since 2014, federal law has prohibited the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using taxpayer funds to prevent states from implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana. This law has been interpreted to prohibit DOJ from prosecuting medical marijuana providers or patients who are in compliance with state law.

Wyden and Blumenauer’s State Cannabis Commerce Act would make these existing protections permanent and expand them to include all cannabis producers and consumers in compliance with state law. The legislation would also protect producers or consumers who transport cannabis between cannabis-legal states, provided that both states have legal cannabis programs and that both states affirmatively agree to the transportation.   

“As more and more states legalize cannabis, the gap between state and federal laws will only grow more confusing for both legal businesses and consumers,” Wyden said. “The solution is clear: the federal government needs to end its senseless and out of touch prohibition. As we fight for that ultimate goal, however, Congress can and should immediately act to protect the will of Oregonians and voters in other states from federal interference—and that should include interstate cannabis commerce.”

“The federal government is hopelessly out of touch with the American people on cannabis,” Blumenauer said. “Last week, the House agreed and passed my amendments to forbid the federal government from interfering with cannabis programs in the states, D.C. and tribal communities. This week, we are turning to a top priority for Oregonians—allowing for interstate sale of cannabis. It’s past time we protect the states, like Oregon, that have gotten it right.”

Earlier this year, Wyden and Blumenauer introduced the “Path to Marijuana Reform,” a package of legislation including three bills laying the groundwork for responsible federal regulation of the legal marijuana industry, including:

  • legislation to shrink the gap between federal and state cannabis laws and keep the federal government out of the way (S. 421 and S. 422); and
  • legislation to responsibly legalize by descheduling, tax and regulate cannabis at the federal level (S. 420).

A copy of the bill text is available here.

A one-page summary is available here.