On Aug. 12, the American Bar Association (ABA) approved Resolution 104, calling upon Congress to “exempt from the Controlled Substances Act any production, distribution, possession, or 3 use of marijuana carried out in compliance with state laws.”
The ABA is an association of lawyers and law students, with over 400,000 members and 3,500 entities in the legal field. It was designed to remove bias and advance the rule of law in the courtroom.
The ABA resolved that cannabis must be removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. “There is an obvious tension between marijuana’s Schedule I status which prohibits marijuana in virtually all circumstances—and state regulatory reforms—which increasingly authorize marijuana for at least some purposes,” the ABA wrote. “While state and federal law often diverge—on everything from environmental to workplace laws—marijuana policy is the only area where the states regulate and tax conduct the federal government nearly universally prohibits.”
HOD adopts Res 104: Urges Congress to end conflict between some state laws and federal law over marijuana regulation and update federal marijuana policy. #ABAAnnual
— American Bar Association (@ABAesq) August 12, 2019
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) acknowledged the importance of the pivotal announcement of support from the ABA. NORML Legal Counsel Keith Stroup praised the development, and reflected back to 1970, when he originally founded NORML. Stroup said he the resolution represents a “vindication of the efforts of NORML.”
Even with legislation to protect states with legal cannabis from federal interference, other entities continue to ban cannabis such as banking institutions or research projects. “That means it’s more dangerous than it should be [to run a state-regulated marijuana business], and that can’t be good for society,” Prof. Stephen Saltzburg of George Washington University Law School told ABA Journal. “You can’t do massive blind studies because everyone who does it is afraid they’ll get prosecuted. We should have that research. We ought not to have states and [the federal government] flying blind.”
With the endorsement of the ABA, more pressure is mounting on the federal government to act and legalize cannabis in all 50 states.