The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment has been added to the spending bill for the 2018 fiscal year which will once again take funding away from Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department to pursue state legal medical marijuana businesses until September 30th. Despite the attorney general’s best efforts to slow the cannabis legalization efforts by rescinding the Cole Memo earlier this year, Congress is being very clear on their feeling towards the issue.
Measures are also being looked into by certain members of Congress to add a similar type of amendment that would strip funding from the Justice Department to pursue state legal recreational marijuana businesses and consumers as well. Jeff Sessions did state earlier this year that the Justice Department does not have the money or time to pursue small marijuana cases anyways, so the real meaning to these sorts of provisions may be that the country is inching its way closer to national legalization.
The new bill, which the House is expected to vote on as soon as Thursday, also continues existing provisions shielding state industrial hemp research programs from federal interference.
In a related move, a bipartisan group of members of Congress is stepping up the push to include the medical marijuana protections in Fiscal Year 2019 spending legislation.
“We believe such a policy is not only consistent with the wishes of a bipartisan majority of the members of the House, but also with the wishes of the American people,” 62 lawmakers wrote in a letter to House appropriations leaders last week.
Given that action, some members of Congress want to go even further than the current medical cannabis protections in spending legislation by adding a new provision that protects all state marijuana laws — including those that allow recreational use and businesses — from federal interference.
The spending bill still needs to be signed by President Trump once it finishes being signed off on by all levels of Congress, otherwise the country will face another government shutdown. Do you see these efforts as bringing us closer to national legalization?