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Edwards files 'Stop Pot' bill ahead of Cherokee vote on recreational marijuana

U.S. Rep. Chuck Edwards last week introduced the Stop Pot Act to withhold some federal funding from states and tribes that permit the use of recreational marijuana.

The Stop Pot Act will withhold 10 percent of federal highway funds from governments that violate federal law under the Controlled Substances Act, which prohibits recreational marijuana and classifies it as a Schedule I drug. The legislation does not apply to jurisdictions that authorize medical use of marijuana when prescribed by a licensed medical professional.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will vote Thursday on whether to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana on tribal lands. If the referendum passes, the Qualla Boundary would be the only place in North Carolina to buy marijuana legally for recreational use.

“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.”

Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action President and CEO Dr. Kevin Sabet said: “Today’s marijuana isn’t Woodstock Weed. 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."