The McClintock-Polis Amendment, The Next Protection for Marijuana

The Rohrabacher-Blumenaeur amendment has protected medical marijuana businesses for years now, however the amendment needs to be voted on regularly and always seems on the verge of slipping by congress. Now that the Cole Memo has been rescinded by the justice department, congress feels like removing spending provisions for Jeff Sessions to file charges against marijuana businesses is more important than ever, hence the McClintock-Polis Amendment.

The McClintock-Polis Amendment was voted on by congress for the first time in 2015 and ended up being rejected. It is now back for consideration and if approved would remove funding from the justice department to file charges against any state legal marijuana business.

The McClintock-Polis Amendment has taken on a new level of urgency in the wake of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Jan. 4 memo rescinding Obama-era guidance on marijuana enforcement, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., told The Cannabist.

“In the last week there’s been a groundswell of support to include this amendment in appropriations legislation,” he said.

Last April, a letter from Reps. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., and Polis requesting inclusion of their amendment in the appropriations bill had a total of 16 signatures. The letter sent Friday had the support of 69 members.

The representatives said the proposed provision respects constitutional authority for states to regulate commerce within their own borders.

“Specifically, we are concerned with several attempts to apply federal law upon commerce related to cannabis that is conducted entirely within the boundaries of states that have legalized such commerce,” the representatives wrote. “While the federal government is legitimately empowered to regulate interstate commerce, the measures adopted by states such as California, Oregon and Colorado are aimed solely at intrastate commerce and as such should not be interfered with.

Everyone seemed to be anticipating a surge in acceptance of marijuana here in 2018, but it seems that now that Jeff Sessions elected to take a more aggressive stance on marijuana it has actually pushed the movement faster than anyone imagined. Do you think it is likely that the McClintock-Polis Amendment will pass in congress this time around?

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Richard Lowe

Richard Lowe is a 14-year veteran of the financial sector with licenses as a commodity broker (Series 3) and investment advisor representative (IAR Series 65). Along with a focus on raising capital for the firms he was employed with, he also wrote and edited much of the content published by them. He holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts. He has been a longtime advocate for marijuana legalization due to the social injustices associated with marijuana prohibition and the strong potential for the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

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