Menendez, Booker Join Bipartisan Effort to Ensure Senate Appropriators Respect State Marijuana Laws

Menendez, Booker Join Bipartisan Effort to Ensure Senate Appropriators Respect State Marijuana Laws


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker today joined a bipartisan group of senators urging the Senate Committee on Appropriations to respect states’ laws regarding the regulation of marijuana when finalizing fiscal year 2018 appropriations.

As a majority of states have some form of reduced restrictions on marijuana, the Department of Justice has issued a series of guidance memoranda over the last several years outlining a federal-state framework upon which citizens rely on to establish legitimate businesses. However, earlier this year, the Attorney General rescinded this guidance. The lawmakers requested that fiscal year 2018 appropriations respect states’ laws in order to revert to the previous framework for marijuana regulations.

In a letter to committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Mich.) and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the senators wrote that rescinding years of guidance has created “disruption, confusion, and uncertainty throughout the country. Citizens who have been acting in good faith based on federal and state assurances now feel exposed. This disruption may deny medications to the sick, push individuals back into illicit markets, and nullify the previously-effective regulations – all while thwarting the democratically-expressed will of the states.”

“It is our hope that the fiscal year 2018 appropriations will alleviate the turbulence the Attorney General’s abrupt decision has caused and that the appropriations will help preserve the strong regulatory frameworks the states have created,” the senators continued. “Doing so will provide the opportunity to pursue federal legislation that both protects the legitimate federal interests at stake and respects the will of the states – both those that have liberalized their marijuana laws and those that have not.”

Joining Sens. Menendez and Booker are U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.).

A copy of the letter is available HERE.