WASHINGTON (Nov. 15, 2021)—The R Street Institute applauds Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) for her introduction of the States Reform Act. Cosponsored by Reps. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Don Young (R-Alaska), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), the States Reform Act is the most comprehensive framework for the decriminalization of cannabis at the federal level introduced by congressional Republicans to date.

Currently, 36 states including the District of Columbia have legalized some form of recreational or medical cannabis use, but it remains illegal under federal law. The States Reform Act remedies this untenable situation by deferring to state powers over prohibition and commercial regulation. It also includes critical criminal justice reform provisions that would expunge federal cannabis convictions for non-violent offenders who have no relation to a foreign drug cartel and provides opportunities for reentry.

Jillian Snider, Policy Director for R Street’s Criminal Justice & Civil Liberties program and retired New York City police officer, said “Decriminalizing cannabis is the right thing to do from a public safety standpoint. It will allow law enforcement to shift their focus toward violent crime and prolific offenders instead of investing undue time and scarce resources into low-level offenses like cannabis possession, which has historically produced racial disparities. It will also reduce the number of police-citizen encounters and increase police legitimacy.”

“The introduction of the States Reform Act is a critical moment in the national debate over cannabis,” added Caroline Kitchens, R Street Institute Director of Government Affairs. “A Republican-led proposal that focuses on developing healthy and competitive legal markets with reasonable levels of taxation is a welcome addition to the conversation. We applaud the growing bipartisan momentum surrounding decriminalization and thank Congresswoman Mace for her leadership.”

Image credit: Corinne Day