Trump “will probably end up” supporting bill lifting the federal ban on marijuana

LOS ANGELES (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday that he’s inclined to support a bipartisan effort in Congress to ease the U.S. ban on marijuana, a proposal that would dramatically reshape the nation’s legal landscape for pot users and businesses.

The federal ban that puts marijuana on the same level as LSD and heroin has created a conflict with more than two dozen states that have legalized pot in some form.

The legislation would ensure states have the right to determine the best approach to marijuana within their borders, but some U.S. restrictions would remain, including recreational sales to people under 21.

The proposal introduced Thursday has support from members of Congress from both parties, including Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado.

“I support Senator Gardner. I know exactly what he’s doing,” Trump told reporters in Washington, when asked about the legislation. “We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”

In a statement released Thursday, Gardner said the proposal would ensure Washington respects the will of voters in each state, whether laws provide for legalization or prohibition.

He said the federal government “is closing its eyes and plugging its ears” to spreading legalization, but Washington should not interfere with any state’s legal marijuana market.

Another co-sponsor, Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, said in a statement that Washington “needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana.”

California, home to one in eight Americans, launched the nation’s largest legal marijuana marketplace on Jan. 1. Still, businesses that have been licensed across the state are facing the threat of federal prosecution.

KUSI’s Earlier Story:

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Thursday, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced legislation that would let states regulate marijuana, free from federal interference. Recreational marijuana is already legal in both Massachusetts and Colorado. The senators’ bipartisan bill comes in response to the Trump administration’s oppositional stance on pot.

The measure would amend the controlled substances act so that the act no longer applies to people who follow state laws regarding marijuana. While introducing the bipartisan marijuana state choice bill, Senator Warren said, “We’re taking action to protect the millions of Americans who access medical marijuana under state law. We’re taking action to protect businesses that need access to basic banking services. And we’re taking action to address the systematic discrimination in our criminal justice system that has ruined the lives of African-Americans for generations, for something as small as a joint of marijuana.”

Friday morning, prior to departing on his trip to the G-7 summit in Canada, President Trump told reporters he would likely support a congressional effort to end the federal ban on marijuana. This would reshape the growing marijuana industry and go Attorney General Jeff Sessions stance on the issue.

When asked about the bipartisan bill, President Trump said, “I support Sen. Gardner. I know exactly what he’s doing. We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”

Nine states have now legalized recreational marijuana and 29 others have legalized it for medical purposes.

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