Congresswoman Diana DeGette

Representing the First District of Colorado
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DeGette, Coffman Introduce Bill to Respect States’ Rights on Marijuana

May 18, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Representatives Diana DeGette (CO-01) and Mike Coffman (CO-06) today introduced a bill to ensure that the federal government does not pre-empt state laws on marijuana. 

The Respect States and Citizens’ Rights Act of 2017 clarifies congressional intent and provides guidance for courts. DeGette and Coffman teamed up on a similar bill in 2012 just after Coloradans approved legalizing marijuana by a margin of six points. They are introducing it anew at a time when the Trump Administration has been signaling its intention to challenge state marijuana laws.

“Passing this bill is now more important than ever before,” DeGette said. “My colleagues and I -- along with our constituents -- spoke out frequently during the Obama administration to make clear we didn’t want the federal government denying money to our states or taking other punitive steps that would undermine the will of our citizens. Lately, we’ve had even more reason for these concerns, given Trump administration statements. This bill makes clear that we’re not going back to the days of raids on legal dispensaries, of folks living in fear that they’re not going to get the medical marijuana they need, or that they might get jailed for using it.”

“While I have opposed the legalization of marijuana, the people of Colorado voted for an initiative in 2012 that legalized marijuana and placed it in our state’s constitution. Since this is clearly not a matter of interstate commerce, I believe that the people of Colorado had every right, under the U.S. Constitution, to decide this issue for themselves and as their representative in Congress, I have an obligation to respect the will of the people of Colorado and that’s why I’m reintroducing this bill with Congresswoman DeGette.”   

The full text of the “Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act” can be found here.