Those who smoke and sell marijuana may soon be protected against federal prosecution.
An Orange County legislator introduced a new bill in congress today that would modify the federal controlled substances act. The bill was introduced by Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher and it's called the "Respect State Marijuana Laws Act.”
It would amend that federal law to defer to individual states when it comes to marijuana regulations.
Across the country, state laws vary when it comes to use of marijuana. California is one of 18 states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes and in November Colorado and Washington passed laws making the drug legal for anyone over the age of 21.
A Pew research study released last week found that 60 percent of Americans believe the federal government shouldn't enforce federal laws prohibiting its use in states where it is legal.
The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act would protect individual marijuana consumers, as well as businesses operating in states where they are legal from federal prosecution.
Those who oppose bill say it's not really about providing medicine, but rather it's about protecting drug dealers.
“We’re very concerned about the likelihood of drugs going from states that have legalized marijuana …to other states and so it’s very important that uh drugs be controlled federally," said Scott Chipman from Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana.
But those who support it say it will help medical marijuana users have safe places to buy it.
“In the state of California, cannabis is legal only for medical purposes and there are thousands of patients who use it every single day and they need a safer, reliable place to get that medicine.” said Eugene Davidovich from San Diego Americans for Safe Access.