State-legal marijuana program protections head to full US House

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A key legislative panel advanced an amendment to the full House for consideration that would protect all state-legal cannabis programs from interference by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The U.S. House Rules Committee cleared the amendment for a full House vote as it passed the fiscal year 2020 Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill by an 8-4 margin late Tuesday.

The spending bill also includes a provision that would prohibit the Justice Department from using funds to go after state-legal medical cannabis businesses.

The amendment to protect the lawful adult-use industry as well as MMJ programs was submitted by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, and Tom McClintock, a California Republican.

A Blumenauer amendment that would prevent the Justice Department from cracking down on Veterans Affairs doctors who recommend medical cannabis in lawful states also is heading to the full House for a vote.

Spending bill provisions offer protections for only a year, however.

Industry officials are lobbying for longer-lasting protections for state-legal marijuana programs, such as through the STATES Act.