New federal budget bill includes medical marijuana protections

A key federal law that prohibits the Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute medical marijuana companies looks likely to remain in place under a new federal budget deal reportedly reached Wednesday among Congressional leaders.

Language from the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment is included on page 240 of the 2,243-page budget bill, which was posted online by Republican leaders.

However, the spending deal has yet to be passed by Congress, which has a Friday deadline before the federal government shuts down.

The Washington Post reported that the deal is “uncertain.”

Even if it is approved, the deal would last only through September.

The amendment, which was first passed by Congress more than three years ago as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, blocks the DOJ and therefore the Drug Enforcement Administration from using federal funds to prevent states and territories “from implementing their own laws” on MMJ.

The law specifically protects medical marijuana laws – and, by extension, MMJ businesses – in 46 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico.

The only four states that aren’t protected are Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota – none of which have yet approved any functional MMJ industries. (There are several states that allow for possession of CBD but don’t permit production or sales.)

Although it’s been law since December 2014, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment has had to be renewed repeatedly by Congress, since it’s technically only an amendment to the budget, which is supposed to be rewritten annually.

So far, the amendment has been renewed eight times. If the budget deal goes through before the Friday deadline, it will be the amendment’s ninth renewal.

The amendment does not protect recreational marijuana laws or businesses, which could be targeted by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions or his U.S. attorneys at any time.

John Schroyer can be reached at [email protected]

One comment on “New federal budget bill includes medical marijuana protections
  1. George Bianchini on

    ‘The amendment does not protect recreational marijuana laws or businesses, which could be targeted by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions or his U.S. attorneys at any time.”

    Great news, it goes hand in hand with your “MEET THE ENFORCERS” Article in the March 2018 edition.
    Of the 14 US attorneys covered all but two were Trump appointee’s. Trump’s stated view is that he is for states’ rights, but that may be a Tuesday position vs a Thursday position. Having legislation tied to the budget make me feel better than worrying about what kind of mood he’s in on any particular day.
    Sessions days may be numbered, but the bigger question is “who is next”. Chris Christie may be waiting in the wind. He is a Trump loyalist and Cannabis enemy . A true gateway drug theorist to the end. Let’s not forget about Trump’s tweets about a death penalty for drug dealers. This has Christie’s DNA all over it. In fact he may prefer that to Boston cream pies, or even Bridge revenge.

    Reply

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