Congress To Temporarily Extend Medical Marijuana Protections
On Friday morning, Congress extended the federal medical marijuana protections aka the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. That happened within a signing of a huge budget deal which brought a short federal shutdown to an end. However, these protections remain temporarily; the current spending plan only runs until March, 23rd. Here’s what you need to know about the amendment and its future.
The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment Stays
The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment prevents DOJ from spending tax dollars to prosecute medical marijuana businesses and patients. It has been a part of the federal budget since 2015, and it is the only document that protects states where medical cannabis is legal.
It does not mean that Congress intensely discuss medical cannabis protections. The amendment is just a part of the federal budget which just jumps from deal to deal during the renewal process. Since 2015, Congress has never approved a new budget which played a huge role in keeping protections alive.
But What Will Happen On March, 23rd?
Potentially, the debate on the fate of medical cannabis will come to a head next month. There are two possibilities: the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment will continue to remain a part of the budget or will be brought under scrutiny. The latter is quite dangerous, especially in the light of attempts to shut it down. AG Sessions keeps pressuring both the House and Senate to drop the amendment.
The Bottom Line
Congress will need to approve the terms on which protections will survive. The Senate has shown some support; the House of Representatives has been less keen to keep the amendment alive. Cross your fingers and let’s see.
(Sweedsy in no way encourages illegal activity and would like to remind its readers that marijuana usage continues to be an offense under Federal Law, regardless of state marijuana laws. To learn more, click here.)