Once again the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment is barely hanging on as Congress has elected to leave it out of the federal budget. The amendment removes funding from federal authorities to prosecute or do anything to interfere with state legalized marijuana.
Jeff Sessions, the current attorney general, has no love for legalized marijuana and would likely do something to, at the very least, curtail its expansion. However, the Senate still has to have its say in what will be included in the federal budget and there are a number of senators that support national legalization of marijuana.
If the budget passes without that rider, budtenders, dispensary owners, doctors recommending cannabis and even medical marijuana patients could face prosecution for their involvement in the industry. And not just for what they’re doing right now. They could be charged with offences dating back to when they got involved in the state’s cannabis industry.
And Attorney General Sessions might do just that since he’s been itching to crackdown on those states. Since taking office, Sessions has ramped up anti-marijuana rhetoric in America. And last May, he asked Congress to drop the amendment so that he could unleash the DEA on medical marijuana states if he saw fit. His request was denied in July by the Senate Appropriations Committee, but it seems like his message resonated in the House.
The fight for the marijuana amendment isn’t over yet though. The budget has yet to reach the Senate, where the rider could be re-inserted with support from Senators Cory Booker (D – NJ), Mike Lee (R – UT), Lisa Murkowski (R – AK), Rand Paul (R – KY), Bernie Sanders (D – VT) and others.
While a more stable alternative to an amendment that needs to be approved each time the budget needs to be approved would be desirable to the cannabis community, the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment has been a source of comfort to state legal marijuana businesses. Do you think the Senate is likely to add the amendment to the federal budget once again?