The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mason Tvert, Dir. of Communications

Bipartisan Bill Introduced in Congress to Immunize Individuals Acting in Compliance With State Marijuana Laws

Respect State Marijuana Laws Act would modify federal Controlled Substances Act to protect marijuana consumers and business owners from prosecution


U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher introduced legislation today in Congress that would modify the federal Controlled Substances Act so that anyone acting in compliance with a state marijuana law would be immune from federal prosecution.

H.R. 1523, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act* would immunize not only individual marijuana consumers, but also medical and non-medical marijuana businesses operating in states in which they are legal. It is being introduced with the following original co-sponsors: Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Don Young (R-AK), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Jared Polis (D-CO).

A national survey released last week by the Pew Research Center found that 60% of Americans believe the federal government should not enforce federal laws prohibiting the use of marijuana in states where it is legal. Detailed survey results are available at

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians. In November, voters in Colorado and Washington State approved measures making marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and directing state regulatory bodies to create regulations for businesses to cultivate and sell marijuana to adults.

Statement from U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), sponsor of the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act:

"This bipartisan bill represents a common-sense approach that establishes federal government respect for all states' marijuana laws. It does so by keeping the federal government out of the business of criminalizing marijuana activities in states that don't want it to be criminal."

Statement from Steve Fox, national political director for the Marijuana Policy Project:

"Marijuana prohibition is on its last legs because most Americans no longer support it. This legislation presents a perfect opportunity for members to embrace the notion that states should be able to devise systems for regulating marijuana without their citizens having to worry about breaking federal law. If a state chooses to take marijuana sales away from cartels and the criminal market and put them in the hands of legitimate, tax-paying businesses, it should be able to do so without federal interference."

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is the number one organization in the U.S. legalizing cannabis. We passed 13 medical cannabis laws in the past 15 years, and we ran winning campaigns in eight of the 11 legalization states. No organization in the movement has changed as many cannabis laws, impacted as many patients and consumers, created as many new markets, or done more to end cannabis prohibition in the U.S. than MPP.