Key federal medical cannabis protection gets stay of execution – again

The only current federal statute protecting medical marijuana businesses from U.S. law enforcement agencies has been extended again, this time until Dec. 22.

The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment – previously known as Rohrabacher-Farr – will remain in federal law for at least another two weeks under a budget deal passed by Congress Thursday afternoon.

The budget bill, known technically as a continuing resolution, will keep the previous federal budget in place through at least Dec. 22 to give Congress more time to hammer out a new budget.

By retaining the previous budget, Congress also kept alive the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which prohibits the Department of Justice from using federal funds to interfere with state-licensed MMJ businesses.

This is the fifth time Congress has extended the budget timeline – and, in turn, Rohrabacher-Blumenauer, which has a sunset clause that requires annual reauthorization from Congress. The last time the amendment was formally reauthorized was in 2015.

In December 2016, Congress passed the first continuing resolution on this issue, which kept the 2015 federal budget in place.

Then lawmakers passed a continuing resolution in April 2017 that lasted less than a week before a third one was passed. A fourth continuing resolution was passed in September.

And now Congress has given itself until Dec. 22 to approve a new budget.

Whether the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment will be part of that new budget is still an open question, though lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed support for it.

But the amendment has hit walls within Congressional committees, which could be a sign it’s in jeopardy.

If Rohrabacher-Blumenauer is allowed to expire, there will be nothing to prevent U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions from prosecuting medical cannabis companies under federal law, a path that Sessions has not yet completely ruled out.

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5 comments on “Key federal medical cannabis protection gets stay of execution – again
  1. Mike L. Wallace Jr. on

    Feasible : The creation of marijuana prohibition deprived our bodies important endocannabinoid systems of necessary cannabinoids. Which threw our bodies homeostasis out of whack & created many illnesses. Now after many generations of cannabinoid deficient parents later. Children are being born with & early developing horrible illnesses, mental health conditions & cancers. It would not be a stretch to say that most illnesses of today relieved by marijuana are caused by cannabinoid deficiencies. Marijuana needs to be legalized nationwide. To relieve the suffering, save lives, release innocent non-violent prisoners, reduce billions from americas budget & take a massive burden off of healthcare. But government have long chosen to sweep this issue under the rug or promote medical marijuana. Medical marijuana requires we develop illnesses (like cancerous tumor cells) Risking Death. Before going to a doctor to try to get a marijuana prescription. Marijuana needs to be legal like recreational marijuana access. To fight illnesses, prevent illnesses & protect future generations from birth defects & early life illnesses. The Nixon marijuana study proved marijuana kills cancerous tumor cells. Recreational marijuana access used properly kills cancerous tumor cells that we don’t know we have yet. Marijuana was / is / always will be “THE CURE”.

    • George Bianchini on

      Mike, Mike, Mike,
      The mistake you may be making is that your words of educated common sense, have nothing to due with reality and the money big business has made keeping cannabis away from society. How long do you think it’ll take those same companies to take legal cannabis away from us. Here is a thought, maybe they will stop selling heroin pills, and replace it with cannabis pills. Might get a big tax incentive too.

  2. Vito Perillo on

    To paraphrase economist Milton Friedman, the war on drugs has only served to shelter and protect the drug cartels. It’s time to move beyond Rohrbacher-Blumenauer. In addition to Cole Memo strictures, we need a rule that says, “No Cash Allowed” in the cannabis trade. Stop bitching at Jeff Sessions; he is obtuse and his thinking sclerotic. Write your Congressman, write your Senator, and tweet your President. Copy and paste this comment if you wish. Bank access is the biggest issue we face in the cannabis industry. How tragically ironic that government policy has stymied tax-paying business entrepreneurs who are in direct competition with criminal black market elements.

  3. Carlos on

    Sad is it coming to light that cannibus is the best preventative for the opioid crisis. Before it was coined a crisis people were being murdered, yes I said murdered because of marijuanas’ illegality, had it never been made illegal them every death from opioid overdoses accidental or not and every MURDER from street gangs and victims of opioid addicts trying to get a fix could have been well avoided, not to mention all the indirect punishment and deaths associated with the opioid catastrophe. Million upon millions of people who once breathed life and happiness to others wouldn’t be mourned till this day. Instead of preventing drug abuse the laws making marijuana illegal created nothing less than a superfund for cartels of drugs and violators of human rights with calls to end this barbaric practice falling of deaf ears. Are they going to finally hear the voices of reason and make a prudent decision that benefits us all finally? I sure hope so. It’s time to make things right, time to legalize and let us citizens light up a joint to celebrate in the country that’s “the joint”

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