A new law proposed Wednesday, June 6, 2015 could force federal law to take a backseat to state law regarding marijuana policies.
Proposed by Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, the measure is titled the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015.
"The American people, through the 35 states that have liberalized laws banning either medical marijuana, marijuana in general, or cannabinoid oils, have made it clear that federal enforcers should stay out of their personal lives," Rohrabacher said in a statement Wednesday. "It’s time for restraint of the federal government’s over-aggressive weed warriors."
Currently, in states that have passed liberalization of medical or recreational marijuana use, there is still the risk of federal prosecution. The Department of Justice has said that even in state-legal circumstances, businesses and individuals will still face federal prosecution for being in violation of federal laws at this point in time.
This proposed measure would reinforce the unwritten rule emphasized by the Federal District Attorney and President Obama, which is to steer clear of state-legal marijuana cases. President Obama restricted Department of Justice funds for pursuing these types of cases and the D.A. has urged prosecutors to avoid cases where marijuana is state-legal.
The potential for criminal prosecution only adds to the difficulties that marijuana retailers and dispensaries have when dealing with federally regulated processes, such as federal taxes. This measure would seek to alleviate these federal issues and allow states to set the guidelines based on how their populations and representatives vote.