Congress extends state-legal medical cannabis programs’ protections timing

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Key protections for state-legal medical marijuana programs are included in the spending bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump last week.

The protections, which will remain in effect until Sept. 30, 2019, bar the Department of Justice from using funds to interfere with state-legal medical cannabis programs.

The provision doesn’t protect adult-use marijuana businesses.

New Attorney General William Barr said during his recent Senate confirmation hearings that he would adopt a hands-off policy toward state-legal cannabis businesses.

Protections for medical marijuana businesses have been extended each year as part of the annual budget process.

The Cannabis Trade Federation and other industry groups are lobbying to provide permanent protections to state-legal cannabis businesses as part of federal reform efforts.

Barr opposes marijuana legalization but said during his hearings that Congress should resolve the disparity between state and federal laws.