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Amanda Walker

Amendment Protecting State MMJ Programs Included in Temporary Spending Bill

The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which protects state-legal medical cannabis programs from federal interference, has been included in a budget agreement which approves funding for hurricane relief, raises the debt ceiling, and approves some federal spending until the end of the year, according to a Forbes report. The protections, however, only last until Dec. 8, 2017.

While the Senate Appropriations Committee had approved the amendment as part of the 2018 Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations package, the Republican-controlled House Rules Committee blocked the amendment from receiving consideration from the full chamber, effectively preventing House lawmakers from offering the industry federal protections. The House also blocked amendments protecting state-approved hemp programs and banks from doing business with legal cannabis businesses; reducing funds for the Drug Enforcement Agency’s cannabis eradication program; expanding access for cannabis research; ending the federal incentive to revoke driver licenses from citizens charged with cannabis crimes; allowing Washington, D.C. to implement a tax-and-regulate cannabis program; and an amendment that would have offered state-approved adult-use programs protections from federal crackdown.

In June, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to legislative leaders urging them to oppose the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment as the nation deals with “a historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”

Rohrabacher-Blumenauer – originally known as Rohrabacher-Farr – has been authorized in every federal budget since 2014. The measure could still be included in the final budget if approved by a conference committee.

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