Alaska US Senators Supporting Marijuana States’ Rights Bill

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Alaska’s Republican U.S. senators are supporting a bipartisan bill that seeks to ensure states’ ability to regulate legal marijuana industries.

Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts originally co-authored the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Friday.

The bill looks at a number of areas in which state and federal marijuana laws conflict while also containing a number of safeguards to ensure states, territories and tribes continue to regulate marijuana safely.

States that have legalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes have struggled for the past several years with conflicting federal policies and the federal government’s ever-changing stance on the industry, Sen. Lisa Murkowski said.

The bill would give states supremacy over marijuana regulations, she said. “No state will be forced to accept marijuana enterprises. But those states that choose to legalize will be freed of federal interference,” Murkowski said.

The recently introduced bill offers a better solution than the Cole Memorandum repealed last year, Sen. Dan Sullivan said in a statement.

The memorandum was enacted under the Obama administration and added a level of separation between federal and state marijuana policies. It also advised federal attorneys to avoid prosecuting marijuana offenses in states such as Alaska, Washington and Colorado where the substance was legalized.

The bill addresses issues relating to the production, sale, distribution, enforcement and longstanding challenges surrounding banking and the lack of access to financial institutions for marijuana-related businesses. If passed, the bill also removes industrial hemp from the list of controlled substance and prohibits the distribution of marijuana at transportation safety facilities, such as rest areas and truck stops.

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