Leading Law Enforcement Groups Endorse Bipartisan Federal Marijuana Legislation

Today, the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) and the Oregon Coalition of Police and Sheriffs (ORCOPs) announced their endorsement of the bipartisan Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act.

The legislation would align federal policy with state policy to ensure safer legal cannabis markets. It would also aid states that have legalized medicinal and recreational cannabis while protecting states that have chosen to keep cannabis prohibited.

“Thank you to the Oregon Coalition of Police and Sheriffs and Peace Officers Research Association of California for endorsing the STATES Act,” said United States Representative Dave Joyce (R-OH). “As a former prosecutor, I know firsthand that our law enforcement officers are already stretched thin – forcing these public servants to walk a discrepant line between state and federal policy not only defies state’s rights but is an inefficient use of precious law enforcement resources. Most importantly, it does nothing to enhance public safety and, in many cases, works against it.”

Rep. Joyce says “The STATES 2.0 Act would address this confusing discrepancy and empower law enforcement in their efforts to enforce cannabis law and address the unique needs of the communities they represent.”

Brian R. Marvel, President of PORAC, said that the group “is pleased to support the STATES 2.0 Act, which strikes a crucial balance between state autonomy and federal oversight and provides a framework that promotes effective law enforcement practices,” said Brian R. Marvel, President of PORAC. “This bill marks an important step forward to enhance cannabis regulation by empowering states to tailor their cannabis laws to best serve their individual communities. Legalizing cannabis at the state level doesn’t mean that the illegal cannabis markets in those states go away.”

“The STATES 2.0 Act will facilitate law enforcement’s focus on diminishing those illegal markets and the bad actors taking advantage of the growing legalization movement occurring in a majority of states throughout the country. This will also enable law enforcement agencies, many of whom are understaffed and underfunded, to focus their limited resources on addressing more serious crimes and illicit substances. Thank you, Congressman Joyce, for your leadership on this important legislation,” Marvel continued.

“Most states now have some form of legal cannabis markets – it’s critical that the federal government is working with the states to ensure that laws and policy provide for the intended outcome,” said Aaron Schmautz, President of ORCOPS. “Law enforcement doesn’t operate in a vacuum. We operate under the public policy conditions in each of our states. The historic disconnect between federal cannabis laws and individual states seeking to allow legal cannabis must be addressed – this bill does that effectively. We look forward to the positive impact that the STATES 2.0 Act will have on promoting public safety and advancing responsible cannabis policies across the country.”

“Local law enforcement groups know what their officers need, and that’s more say at the state level in how cannabis is regulated. They see firsthand the conflicts that arise when voters in states are in one place and antiquated federal policy is in another. That puts law enforcement, employers, banks, and anyone else in a costly, confusing mess. The STATES 2.0 Act respects the will of voters, sets in place the right national framework, and supports our nation’s law enforcement officials. It’s the middle ground that works for all,” said former United States Representative and CPEAR Co-chair Greg Walden.

“As an Oregonian, I’ve witnessed the evolution of cannabis policy at home and the conflict with federal policy in Washington, D.C. It’s time to update how cannabis is regulated while protecting the rights of states to have a say,” said Walden. “Moreover, national polling shows this middle ground is where the majority of Republicans and Democrats are in their views. It’s good policy and good politics – it’s now time for Congress to turn it into good law,” Walden continued.

“The STATES Act aligns federal policy with state policy, keeping law enforcement at the top of minds,” said Andrew Freedman, CPEAR executive director. “The bipartisan proposal makes a compelling argument for respecting states’ rights and promoting sensible drug policy reform. By allowing individual states to determine their own cannabis laws without federal interference, STATES 2.0 Act acknowledges the diverse approaches and preferences of different regions across the country.  It is past time that Congress pass legislation that will protect our youth, protect our roads, battle against addiction and psychosis, and keep cannabis out of communities that do not want it.”

In December of 2023, the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (CPEAR) endorsed the STATES Act and later released original polling from Missouri, Ohio, and Wyoming showing broad voter support for the legislation. The polling surveyed likely voters aged 21+ from each state and underscored voters’ clear preference for states to determine their cannabis policies.

Key highlights from the polling include:

  • The STATES Act is supported by 72% of Wyoming voters, 67% of Missouri voters, 61% of Ohio voters; and
  • In Wyoming (a prohibition state), a majority of all voters and a majority of Republican voters would be more likely to vote for a Congressional candidate who supports the STATES Act; and
  • Over 60% of Republicans in Missouri, Ohio, and Wyoming support the STATES Act.

Read more about the STATES Act here.

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