State lawmakers are calling on the federal government to amend its drug laws to let states experiment with marijuana and hemp policy. The National Conference of State Legislatures, the de facto bipartisan group of lawmakers, passed a resolution during the time their annual meeting Thursday calling on the federal government to change the Controlled Substances Act to authorize state marijuana laws and on the administration to keep its nose out of state marijuana policies.

“State lawmakers just sent a message to Congress that could not be any clearer,” stated Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, which has been an advantage in the movement to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. In order to be approved, the resolution had to gain majority support from three-fourths of the states in attendance at Thursday’s meeting in Seattle.

The solution, introduced by New Hampshire state Rep. Renny Cushing, lays out the his view which is with 23 states and D.C. having passed medical marijuana laws and four others — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — having given a green light to marijuana for recreational purposes, it is time for the federal government to explicitly legalize those policy experiments.

It also identifies the difficulty marijuana businesses have had in securing financing — due to banks worrying of violating federal rules and regulations — and the potential medical advantages as a reason for the change in federal laws.

Though lawmakers may disagree on easing on laws that currently exist, they do agree that “states and localities should be able to set whatever marijuana and hemp policies work best to improve the public safety, health, and economic development of their communities,” the resolution concludes.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a 2016 presidential candidate, recently stated he would stand behind federal drug laws in states that have legalized marijuana.

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