Medical Marijuana Protected Through September
On Friday, President Donald Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending measure. This move averts a government shutdown and renews critical protections for medical marijuana patients.
Earlier this week the president considered a veto because the bill does not contain full funding for an infamous wall with Mexico and does not address “Dreamer” immigrants. However, he signed it to provide money for the military.
The bill’s passage will allow millions of medical cannabis patients and providers to keep getting help under the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer provision. The provision covers 30 states that have legalized the medical marijuana use. The rule prohibits DEA and local US attorney’s offices to interfere with medical cannabis programs.
AG Session’s attempt to remove the provision failed
Last year, AG Jeff Sessions asked the Congressional leader to remove the provision. In his letter, he claimed that “it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of a historic drug epidemic and a potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tx) prevented the provision from moving forward out of the House Rules Committee. However, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) introduced the same provision into the Senate version of the spending bill and made sure it survived the lengthy negotiations.
Patients remain protected
Cannabis advocates celebrated the renewal of the protections. Justin Strekal, political director of NORML, stated
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.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer agreed, claiming that
While I am 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.
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 are 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. Republican leadership is hopelessly out of touch, and they should be held accountable. I will not rest until Congress gets this right.
The debate on cannabis use for medical and recreational purposes will continue in September when another fiscal year begins. The fate of the current policy is up to the voters who will decide in November which party controls the House and the Senate.
(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.)