On Thursday, June 7th, Senator Cory Gardner and Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced the Strengthening Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018 in the U.S Senate, which creates an exemption to the Controlled Substances Act for U.S. states and territories that have reformed their laws with regard to cannabis policy, effectively restraining undue federal intervention. In addition to the Senate bill, Representative Earl Blumenauer and Representative David Joyce introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

“This bill makes it clear that the United States government has no interest in denying states the ability to implement laws allowing legal access to cannabis, in spite of its current status as a Schedule I controlled substance,” explains Indiana NORML board member Just See, “while also maintaining some guardrail provisions that would deter states allowing sales to those under 21 without the recommendation of a state qualified physician. With the interim study committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services preparing to discuss the topic of ‘issues pertaining to the use of medical marijuana’, the passage of the STATES Act would ensure that the committee is able to focus exclusively on how cannabis could benefit Hoosiers rather than being sidetracked by the problem of federal prohibition as they craft their recommendations for the General Assembly. Hoosiers are growing increasingly skeptical of the willingness of Indiana’s elected officials to truly represent constituents on this issue, and the study committee needs to take serious steps to align their recommendations with the needs and wishes of Indiana residents.”

“With the upcoming summer study in mind,” adds Communications Director David Phipps, “Indiana NORML encourages Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young, as well as Representatives Pete Visclosky, Jackie Walorski, Jim Banks, Todd Rokita, Susan Brooks, Luke Messer, Andre Carson, Larry Bucshon, and Trey Hollingsworth to consider the value that the passage of this bill would have to the state of Indiana as the possibility of implementing a medical cannabis program during the 2019 legislative session grows closer. The combined support of Indiana’s delegation would help fast track the bill through Congress and onto the desk of President Trump. For those Hoosiers who want to help ensure that this crucial reform passes, we encourage them to contact the offices of their U.S. Senators and Representatives to voice their support for the STATES Act. With the passage of this federal bill, Indiana will be one step closer to implementing legal access to medical cannabis”.