Bipartisan bloc of Congress aims to protect medical cannabis industry

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Forty-four members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a formal letter to the authors of an upcoming federal budget bill requesting they write the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment into the measure to guarantee the U.S. government can’t prosecute medical marijuana businesses that follow state MMJ law.

“We respectfully request that you include language barring the Department of Justice from prosecuting those who comply with their state’s medical marijuana laws,” the letter reads. “We believe such a policy is not only consistent with the wishes of a bipartisan majority of the members of the House, but also with the wishes of the American people.”

The letter was signed April 4 by 10 Republicans and 34 Democrats, with Congressional Cannabis Caucus founders U.S. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA, and Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, at the top.

The signatories were mostly from states with vibrant marijuana economies but also included representatives from jurisdictions without functioning MMJ laws, such as Kentucky, Iowa, Wisconsin and Virginia.

Representatives for Rohrabacher and Blumenauer didn’t immediately respond to inquiries about why the letter specified state MMJ laws and didn’t include a broader request to also prohibit the DOJ from prosecuting recreational marijuana companies and consumers.

The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, first approved by Congress in 2014, is set to expire April 28 unless it’s passed again in some form by the House and Senate.