OPINION | Chris McCarthy: Senator Warren is Right on Marijuana
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has crafted a bipartisan approach to changing federal law on marijuana and acknowledging states' Constitutional rights.
I like bipartisan Warren much more than angry Trump-bashing Warren, but that's me. She has put together some excellent legislation when she works with her Republican colleagues. She has done bills with Republicans to lower the cost of hearing aids and to curb the negative aspects of gambling within the ranks of our military.
Now, she has joined with Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado, to fix the broken system of federal oversight of marijuana. The bill has a twin sister in the House sponsored by a Republican and Democrat as well.
The bill is aptly named The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act. The bill aims to amend the Controlled Substance Act--regarding only marijuana--and to ensure that each state has the right to determine for itself the best approach to marijuana production, distribution, and consumption. It also amends the financial restrictions currently in place that keep the legal marijuana enterprises locked out of the banking system.
"Outdated federal marijuana laws have perpetuated our broken criminal justice system, created barriers to research, and hindered economic development," said Senator Warren. "States like Massachusetts have put a lot of work into implementing common-sense marijuana regulations - and they have the right to enforce their own marijuana policies. The federal government needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana."
The state of Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana use years ago, and recreational marijuana use in 2016. In fact, 46 out of the 50 states in the union have legalized or decriminalized marijuana use today. The federal government is out of step with the states, and this bill corrects that uncertainty.
The Controlled Substance Act is so outdated they spell marijuana as "Marihuana."
Joining the legislators is a coalition of political and business interest groups. The Massachusetts Bankers Association, the Maine Credit Union League, the Mountain West Credit Union Association, the National Cannabis Bar Association, and the National Cannabis Industry Association come from the industry side of the discussion.
The policy wonks include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Safe Access, Americans for Tax Reform, the Brennan Center for Justice, Campaign for Liberty, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
It is nice to see Senators like Warren and Gardner returning the Senate to a defender of the rights of states, as originally intended by the Constitution.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.