Congressman Cohen urges feds to respect state laws allowing mari - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Congressman Cohen urges feds to respect state laws allowing marijuana use

Congressman Steve Cohen Congressman Steve Cohen

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen wants the federal government to respect state laws allowing people to smoke marijuana.

Voters in both Colorado and Washington State passed laws allowing people to have the drug. Cohen wrote a letter saying it would be a mistake for the feds to crack down on this issue in those states.

"Tennessee will learn from Washington and Colorado. The only way they'll learn is if the federal government stays out," said Congressman Steve Cohen.

That is Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen saying Tennessee can learn from two states that passed laws allowing the sale and use of marijuana.

"While Washington state and Colorado state are great attractions right now for tourists, I think they are going to see their economy really boom," said Cohen.

Congressman Cohen wrote a letter to the Justice Department and the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency asking the federal government to respect state marijuana laws.

"We believe that it would be a mistake for the federal government to focus enforcement action on individuals whose actions are in compliance with state law," said the letter.

It was also signed by congressional members from Colorado and Washington. He says there needs to be priority in fighting the drug war.

"We need to be spending monies of DEA, the justice, and drug areas on meth, crack, heroin and cocaine. Four very, very, very serious drugs that are likely to cause addiction and destroy people's lives," explained Cohen.

Many in Tennessee put marijuana in that same serious drug category, including state legislators in Nashville. That is why Congressman Steve Cohen does not think voters in Tennessee will see marijuana laws on the ballot anytime soon.

In the meantime, he hopes the feds let the voters in those two states have their say and let state marijuana laws rule without any federal interference.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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