A Bill Is About To Be Introduced That Would Protect Pot Users From Federal Law

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said the bill was "common sense."

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Whispers hears that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., is about to introduce a bill that protects marijuana users and business owners from federal prosecution, as long as they are in compliance with state laws. The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act, which makes the sale and use of marijuana illegal under federal law.

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The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act has five co-sponsors on both the Republican and Democratic side of the aisle, including Reps. Justin Amash, R-Mich., Don Young, R-Alaska, Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., and Jared Polis, D-Col.

If passed, the law would immunize pot users and business owners in the states of Colorado and Washington, which both voted in November to make marijuana legal for people over the age of 21.

In a statement shared with Whispers, Rohrabacher called the bill "common sense" and said it "[keeps] the federal government out of the business of criminalizing marijuana activities."

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Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before a Senate Judiciary hearing.

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Howard Wooldridge, a lobbyist for the pro-marijuana legalization group Citizens Opposing Prohibition, says he believes this bill has a better chance than marijuana legislation introduced in the past.

"I believe that this new Rohrabacher bill is the best vehicle to attract the federalists and states rights crowd because it leaves all the federal rules and laws as they are," he says.

A poll released by Pew Research Center last week found 60 percent of Americans think the federal government should not interfere with states where marijuana is legal. Steve Fox, national political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement that "marijuana prohibition is on its last legs because most Americans no longer support it."

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That doesn't include former Drug Enforcement Agency officials, a group of which penned a letter last month urging Attorney General Eric Holder to take a stand against the new laws in Colorado and Washington before they started a "domino effect" in other states. "It's hard for me to imagine any state law so clearly in conflict with federal law as the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington," Robert Dupont, who was the first Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and second White House Drug Czar, told Whispers last month. "Yet it's four months after and we've still heard nothing."

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