Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday that would allow states to regulate marijuana without federal interference.
Warren and Gardner, who both represent states with legal recreational pot, introduced the legislation, known as Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, as a response to the Trump administration’s hardline stance against the drug.
The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act to include a framework that says it no longer applies to those following state, territory or tribal laws “relating to the manufacture, production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration or delivery of marijuana.”
“It’s time to reform American’s outdated marijuana policies,” Warren tweeted with a video of her and Gardner speaking at a press conference announcing the measure.
Gardner said outlawing legalized pot was like “putting the ketchup back in the bottle,” and hit current finance laws for making it difficult for marijuana businesses, because the substance is illegal according to the federal government.
“This city of Denver, the state of Colorado, can collect taxes … they can take it to the bank,” Gardner said. “But if you’re in the business, if you work for the business, you can’t get a bank loan or set up a bank account because of the concern over the conflict between the state and federal law. We need to fix this public hypocrisy.”
Warren and Gardner had announced a partnership in April in an attempt to hold President Trump to his word about respecting states rights.
Warren reportedly said the goal of the legislation is to “ensure that each state has the right to determine for itself the best approach to marijuana within its borders.”
Warren and Gardner’s proposed legislation comes in the face of increasing opposition toward marijuana from the White House.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a vocal critic of marijuana legalization, in January rolled back an Obama-era policy that gave states freedom to manage recreational use.
In May 2017, he sent a letter to congressional leaders asking that they eliminate an amendment that prohibits the Justice Department from using federal money to prevent states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
Recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and Washington, D.C., and medical marijuana is legal in another 29.