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Congressman Rohrabacher believes that cannabis policy should be under the jurisdiction of state governments. Currently, the federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This designation makes not just recreational use of marijuana illegal, but medicinal use and most research into the benefits of the cannabis plant, in violation of federal law. Forty-six states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico have, to varying degrees, legalized uses of cannabis that are illegal under federal law The federal government, however, continues to maintain its complete legal prohibition, despite overwhelming support from the American people and their state governments for more liberal laws.

Congressman Rohrabacher has been a champion of states’ rights with regard to cannabis for much of his career, and has seen a growing, ever slowly, number of members of Congress acknowledging the need for a change in federal policy. Rohrabacher is the author of an appropriations amendment (Rohrabacher-Farr) that passed twice on the floor of the House of Representatives and has been law since December 2014. This amendment prohibits the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical marijuana laws by prosecuting those who are acting in accordance with state law.

Rohrabacher continues to fight to make the federal government respect the rights of states completely with regard to marijuana. As such, he introduced H.R. 975, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, which would make actions involving marijuana that are legal at the state level, legal at the federal level, as well.