Federal medical cannabis protection extended again

The only federal law formally preventing the U.S. Department of Justice from prosecuting medical marijuana businesses has once more been given a new lease on life.

This time, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment – formerly known as Rohrabacher-Farr – has been extended until March 23 under the budget deal passed by Congress and signed Friday morning by President Donald Trump.

This is the eighth time the amendment has been temporarily extended by a continuing resolution from Congress, which hasn’t passed a new federal budget since 2015.

Rohrabacher-Blumenauer prohibits the DOJ from using federal funds to interfere with state-legal MMJ laws and companies.

The measure does not protect recreational marijuana businesses.

Because Rohrabacher-Blumenauer has been approved in the past only as an amendment to the federal budget, the law’s lifespan is tied to annual renewal by Congress.

The GOP-controlled Congress has not approved a new budget since 2015, instead having repeatedly delayed negotiations over a longer-term budget until recently, so the longer-term fate of the amendment is still uncertain.

It’s possible the amendment will be included in a larger spending package that is expected to be approved by March 23.

But there’s no guarantee at this point, given a change in procedural rules in the House of Representatives last year that has prevented amendments like Rohrabacher-Blumenauer from being added to the budget.

A glimmer of hope came from the Senate Appropriations Committee last year, however, when Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy got the amendment added to a Senate version of the spending bill.

Proponents of the amendment note that it has overwhelming popular support in the House as well.

John Schroyer can be reached at [email protected]

6 comments on “Federal medical cannabis protection extended again
  1. Phil Gibson on

    Can they just stop being afraid of being labelled the congress that “legalized cannabis”? Have some confidence and make this permanent so we can get on with safe, jobs creating, normal business for a product with known health benefits. The vast majority of the population is behind you!

    Reply
  2. Rick on

    The time is now please. I don’t want to have to use opiates to be comfortable. I feel and look so much better. Please consider our opinions and feelings on this subject. Thank you

    Reply
  3. Brett Von Bergen on

    Technically this amendment only does the following: “None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used to prevent any of the states from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” I read this as only “preventing” the DOJ from using funds from this “particular act” in interfering with states who want to pursue marijuana legislation, it doesn’t say that they can’t interfere in any prosecutorial manner. The fact of the matter is that there is NO formal federal protections for ANY marijuana operation-IT IS STILL ILLEGAL EVERYWHERE FOR EVERYONE UNDER FEDERAL LAW! You’re still a criminal if you are growing, processing, and using marijuana for ANYTHING! Don’t become complacent and comfortable, disobedience doesn’t win in the court of law. The Cole memo was the real help, but with that gone and this amendment of little worth, comprised with the one factor that really matters- the DEA still considers ALL forms of Cannabis ILLEGAL!!!! Cannabis is pretty much where its always been, an illegal commodity with NO LEGAL PROTECTIONS! If the market wants to make real change then you have to change the politics and the laws first, nothing else matters before the fact!

    Reply
  4. Gloria Santana on

    Marijuana is safer than alcohol, check the statics of drunk driver accidents, i need mj for my eyes, Washington should stop playing games and pay attention to what the people want and needs

    Reply
  5. steamboat on

    Any threat to their getting high legally sure brings out the drug users by the droves….unsubstantiated medical claims and promises of Big Bucks to all…Utopia! Anyone for heroin? Think of it, a “snake” started it with similar promises for just a couple of bites of an apple. Sounds to me like the usual progressive tripe we republicans are sold daily by Big Media and other “catch the wave” political opportunists.

    Reply

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