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Colorado’s legalized marijuana would be federally lawful under bill introduced by Cory Gardner, Elizabeth Warren

WASHINGTON — Marijuana would be legal federally in states that already have approved the drug’s use under a bill introduced Thursday by U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren.

The measure, which faces a tough path to becoming law, wouldn’t legalize the drug in states that haven’t sanctioned its use or sale.

But in states such as Colorado that have legalized marijuana, it would bring the cannabis industry out of its current financial limbo by giving the industry access to banks and other financial institutions, which previously have been off-limits because of federal prohibitions.

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“We just want the federal government to get out of the way,” Warren said.

The alliance between Gardner and Warren represents a bit of a political odd couple, but even the combined effort of a Colorado Republican and Massachusetts Democrat may not be enough to get the legislation through Congress.

In all, 46 U.S. states and several territories have legalized cannabis in some fashion. Some allow cannabidiol, or CBD, products for specific health conditions; others have put in place medical marijuana programs; and 10 permit recreational cannabis use.

Whether this state-level popularity translates to a change in federal law remains to be seen.

Gardner said the bill already had at least four co-sponsors on the Senate side but admitted that there was a “significant education push we have to do” to garner more support.