House committee blocks votes on medical marijuana protections

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

The House of Representatives’ Rules Committee has blocked floor votes on several key amendments that protect medical marijuana from federal interference.

The late Wednesday night maneuver doesn’t kill the protections, but it does show that marijuana opponents have not given up efforts to reverse legalization and kill the industry, The Cannabist reported.

The amendments – including the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment (previously known as Rohrabacher-Farr), which prohibits the Justice Department from using federal dollars to go after medical marijuana programs – had been included on a federal appropriations bill. Congressional lawmakers have passed the amendments every year since 2014.

The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, however, isn’t dead, as it will likely be included in a short-term government spending deal reached Wednesday by the White House and House lawmakers, The Cannabist reported. That deal is good through the end of the year.

Also, the Senate Appropriations Committee has included the amendments in the upper chamber’s spending bill and could be reconciled with a House version, The Cannabist reported.

According to the news outlet, the rules committee also blocked:

  • An amendment that prohibits the punishment of financial institutions that serve licensed marijuana businesses and prevents the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) from rescinding guidelines that allow banks to work with cannabis companies.
  • Protections for medical marijuana research.

The measures were rejected on an 8-5 vote.