Key federal marijuana protection extended through April

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It looks as though the medical cannabis industry is safe. For now.

Over the weekend, the U.S. Senate approved a stopgap federal spending measure to fund the government through April 28, Reuters reported. Included in the bill – a continuing resolution that essentially reapproves last year’s federal spending bill – is an important piece of legislation for those in the marijuana business.

The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which prohibits the federal government from spending any money to interfere with state medical marijuana programs, was among the provisions renewed until April 28. That renewal means pro-cannabis forces have a major piece of ammunition in case Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions – who will likely be the next U.S. attorney general – decides to pick a fight over state marijuana laws.

The Marijuana Policy Project issued a statement Saturday hailing the measure’s renewal as another temporary victory, saying Sessions “will not be able to go after lawful medical marijuana patients and entities for several months.”

But, as MPP noted, the future is far from certain, and the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment will either have to be reapproved by Congress by April 28 to be included in the next spending bill, or passed as a stand-alone bill.

U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, has told Marijuana Business Daily he is confident the amendment will be renewed by Congress and hopes it will be expanded to protect all state marijuana laws – both medical and recreational – from federal interference.