Rep. Edwards to continue fight against marijuana in new Congress with ‘Stop Pot Act’ | Eastern North Carolina Now

Withhold funds from states and tribes that legalize marijuana for recreational use

ENCNow

By Peyton Major
Christian Action League
May 17, 2024

A North Carolina representative in D.C. isn’t giving up his bid to withhold funds from states and tribes that legalize marijuana for recreational use.

A spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Chuck Edwards (R-N.C.) told the pro-cannabis website Marijuana Herald that the legislator will “refile the Stop Pot Act in the next legislative session,” meaning that the political battle against marijuana likely will not end in November, no matter who wins Congress. Edwards’ seat in the 11th District is considered as a safe GOP seat by the Cook Political Report.

The Stop Pot Act would instruct the federal government to withhold 10 percent of federal highway funds from any state or tribe that allows the use of recreational marijuana. This year, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians within North Carolina began selling marijuana for recreational use following voter approval last fall.

The federal Controlled Substances Act, Edwards noted, classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug. Edwards’ bill would not impact states or tribes that legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes provided it is “prescribed by a licensed medical professional,” his office said.

“The laws of any government should not infringe on the overall laws of our nation, and federal funds should not be awarded to jurisdictions that willfully ignore federal law,” Edwards said.

“During a time when our communities are seeing unprecedented crime, drug addiction, and mental illness, the Stop Pot Act will help prevent even greater access to drugs and ease the strain placed on our local law enforcement and mental health professionals who are already stretched thin.”

Last year, Edwards wrote in a column for The Carolina Journal that “more and more states are thumbing their proverbial noses at federal laws.”

“Congress has sat idly by and watched it happen,” he said.

The Stop Pot Act has the support of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action, an organization that opposes marijuana legalization.

“Today’s marijuana isn’t Woodstock Weed,” said organization president and CEO Kevin Sabet.

“It is a highly engineered drug that’s often wrapped in kid-friendly packaging, with potencies of up to 99 percent. The legalization movement has worsened America’s mental health and addiction crisis by preying on communities of color and young people. Today’s commercial marijuana products are associated with depression, suicidality, IQ loss and most recently psychosis and schizophrenia, especially for young people.”

Already, marijuana legalization is making America’s roads less safe. A study by the Drug-Free America Foundation found that states that have legalized marijuana in some capacity have seen a 32 percent increase in DUIs compared to states where pot is not legal.

Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said Edwards’ bill needs serious consideration by Congress. CAL, he said, is a “staunch opponent of marijuana legalization.”

“The League zealously supports the Stop Pot Act,” Creech said. “This crucial piece of legislation represents a fundamental commitment to the safety and well-being of our communities. By proposing to withhold a portion of federal highway funds from states that legalize marijuana sales, the Act provides a necessary check against the rapid and reckless expansion of marijuana access across our nation.

“The public safety concerns associated with legalized marijuana cannot be overstated. The Stop Pot Act seeks to ensure our roads remain safe for all drivers and pedestrians.”

The Stop Pot Act also would protect youth, Creech said.

“Legalizing marijuana makes it more accessible and normalizes its use, which can have devastating effects on the cognitive and emotional development of young individuals,” Creech said. “It is immoral not to prioritize the health and future of our children above everything. The Stop Pot Act is not merely a policy proposal — it is a necessary step to ensure that public health, safety, and moral standards are not sacrificed in the pursuit of state-level profits.

“By leveraging federal highway funds, the Stop Pot Act also underscores the seriousness of drug control and signals to states the consequences of undermining federal drug laws. This economic pressure is a legitimate and effective strategy for maintaining national standards on drug control.”

Edwards’ bill would uphold the “moral and societal standards that we cherish,” Creech added.  “The widespread commercialization of marijuana threatens the social fabric of our nation, promoting a culture of drug dependency and weakening community values.”


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