Senator Rand Paul Introduces Measure to Legalize State MMJ Programs
July 25th, 2014
Policy, Top News
Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican lawmaker, filed an amendment to Senate Bill 2569 being considered in the Senate that would federally legalize and recognize state medical marijuana programs. The so-called Bring Jobs Home Act has 97 amendments added to it as it moved through the legislative process, although many experts view it as a classic message bill that will never pass.
The amendment says, “A state may enact and implement a law that authorizes the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical use.” The bill would also specifically protect patients and physicians from federal prosecution even if they were in direct violation of federal law as long as they are compliant with state laws and regulations, according to a report on LadyBud.
Many businesses focused on the medical marijuana industry face the prospects of a federal crackdown despite statewide legalization. While the federal government has promised such crackdowns wouldn’t occur in some cases, the U.S. Controlled Substances Act remains very clear in defining marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance with “no currently accepted medical use.”
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice indicated that, in light of recent state ballot initiatives, the organization would focus its enforcement efforts on eight areas that federal prosecutors would “prioritize” including criminal gangs and the like. Outside of those areas, the organization indicated that it would “rely on state and local authorities to address marijuana activity” through enforcement of their laws.
Similarly, federal regulators have also been attempting to open up the banking sector to the medical marijuana industry. Many dispensaries and other marijuana-related operations have had to conduct business in cash and keep all profits under their roof, which has opened the door to significant burglary and other criminal risk factors that could increase violence in communities.
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