The amendment to protect state-approved medical cannabis programs, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, has been included in the federal omnibus funding package, which would keep the programs safe from federal interference until at least September.
The amendment explicitly prevents the Justice Department – headed by anti-cannabis zealot Jeff Sessions – from blocking states’ efforts to “[implement] their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
Last year, Sessions sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to oppose the language of the amendment, which has been approved annually since 2014.
“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.” – Sessions in a June letter
Earlier this month during remarks to the Federalist Society, Sessions admitted that the feds do not have the resources to prosecute “routine” cannabis cases and would focus instead on gangs and other high-level illicit dealers.
According to a press release from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, more than 10,000 NORML members contacted federal officials over the last two days urging them to maintain the protections included in the amendment.