President Trump has officially signed into law an omnibus spending package which includes an extension of federal protections for state-level medical marijuana and hemp laws.
The spending bill, which funds the government through the end of September, extends the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment. The amendment, first approved in 2014, prevents the Department of Justice (including the DEA) from spending any federal funds to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized the plant for medical use. The spending bill would also extend a law that protects state laws that allow hemp to be grown for research purposes.
“We are very pleased to see that neither Congress nor the White House bent to the will of Attorney General Jeff Sessions when it comes to his anti-marijuana crusade,” says Justin Strekal, Political Director of NORML. “There are thirty states that have authorized the use of medicinal cannabis, serving over two million patients nationwide who rely on these programs. At a time when the majority of states now regulate marijuana use, and over six out of ten voters endorse outright legalizing the plant’s use by adults, it makes no sense from a political, fiscal, or cultural perspective to allow Sessions to attempt put this genie back in the bottle.”
Although this is good news, Representative Earl Blumenauer says; “While I’m glad that our medical marijuana protections are included, there is nothing to celebrate since Congress only maintained the status quo. These protections have been law since 2014. This matter should be settled once and for all. Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans, across every party, strongly favor the right to use medical marijuana.”
He continued, “Instead, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is doubling down on the failed War on Drugs and Republican leadership in Congress—led by Chairman Pete Sessions—is stonewalling. They’re ignoring the will of the American people by blocking protections for state adult-use laws and cannabis banking. They even refused our veterans access to lifesaving medicine.
Below is the full text of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment:
None of the funds made available under this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.