Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, welcomed passage of legislation to extend protections for state medical marijuana programs through December 8. The provision, which prevents the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical marijuana laws, was included in a broader legislative package passed by Congress last week to fund the government and provide disaster relief.
Blumenauer and Rohrabacher released the following statement:
“While this action provides a measure of certainty for the millions of medical marijuana patients and the clinics and business that support them, much more needs to be done. More than 95 percent of Americans now have state-legal access to some form of medical marijuana. The American people have spoken, and Congress needs to hear them. Ultimately, we need permanent protections for state-legal medical marijuana programs, as well as adult-use. Prohibition is a failed policy resulting in nothing more than wasted resources and lives.”
With this legislation, Congress has funded the federal government through December 8. In the meantime, Congress will work to develop a longer-term funding plan. While the Senate Appropriations Committee-approved version of the bill includes the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, the House version of the legislation will not, due to the decision by House Rules Committee leadership to block the amendment. Blumenauer, Rohrabacher, and their allies are fighting to reverse this wrongheaded decision and include protections for state medical marijuana protections in the FY 2018 funding bills.