During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said that the current disconnect between state and federal cannabis laws is “intolerable” and that he would prefer policy similar to that outlined in the proposed STATES Act, The Denver Channel reports.
If approved, the STATES Act would protect state-legal cannabis programs established either by local lawmakers or via successful voter initiatives. It is one of several currently pending pieces of legislation that would reform federal policy to protect state-legal cannabis operators and entrepreneurs from federal interference.
Barr’s statements were made in response to questions posed by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), one of many co-sponsors behind the bi-partisan STATES Act.
“Personally, I would still favor one uniform federal rule against marijuana, but if there is no sufficient consensus to obtain that, then I think the way to go is to permit a more federal approach so states can make their own decisions within the framework of federal law, so we’re not just ignoring the enforcement of federal law.” — Barr, during Wednesday’s Senate Appropriations Committee hearing
Barr said he has not looked specifically at the STATES Act but that the proposal has been circulating the Department of Justice for feedback, which he promised to provide lawmakers with further down the line.
The STATES Act was first introduced by Sens. Cory Gardener (D-Colorado) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) last year; when it was introduced, President Trump signaled that he would sign the bill if it reached his desk.
The bill was reintroduced last week with a long list of co-sponsors, including Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-New Mexico), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon); the bill was also introduced to the House by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) and David Joyce (R-Colorado).