Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen was among a group of Democratic legislators that re-introduced a bill on Thursday allowing residents of states that have legalized medical marijuana to continue to access it without being subject to federal prosecution.
For years, the bill looked dead in the water, but as Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeks to roll back protections for medical marijuana users and providers, the matter became more urgent. The 2014 Rohrabacher-Farr amendment currently prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds to prosecute individuals in states with medical legalization.
Sen. Al Franken is also a co-sponsor of the bill, along with Republicans Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Mike Lee and Rand Paul.
At the press conference, Cohen, the first Jewish congressman from Tennessee, urged his fellow members of Congress to act quickly.
“It’s cultural lag in our country. So many times, the public is ahead of the legislators,” he said. “Legislators are like turtles, and they don’t stick their head out of the shell until they think it’s safe.”