Federal Legislation Would Stop Feds From Prosecuting State-Legal Marijuana Entities


This month United States Attorney General announced that he would be rescinding the Obama-era Cole memo which provided some protections for adult-use cannabis businesses that were complying with state laws. There has been some confusion as to what that means for medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana at the state level is still protected by the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, but that amendment is set to expire on January 19th if it is not renewed. Make sure to contact your members of Congress and urge them to renew the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.

Also, urge them to support a new bill that would provide similar protections to the adult-use industry. Below is more information about the new legislation, courtesy of a NORML press release (you can donate to NORML at this link here):

Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Don Young (R-AK) today filed a resolution, HR 4779, prohibiting the federal government from taking punitive action against those operating in states where the use and distribution of marijuana is legal.

“With the Justice Department having rescinded Obama-era directives limiting the federal government’s involvement in states where marijuana is lawful, and with the future of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment uncertain, it is imperative that members of Congress take swift action in support of HR 4779,” NORML’s Political Director Justin Strekal said. ”More than seven out of ten Americans – including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans – believe that states, not the federal government, ought to decide marijuana policy. Our nation’s longstanding federalist principles demand that Congress take action to respect voters’ wishes and permit these policies to evolve free from undue federal interference.”

“The federal government should respect the will of the voters in states that have voted to decriminalize cannabis. It’s time to stop wasting taxpayer money on the failed War on Drugs,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. ”I’m proud to introduce the REFER Act, which would prevent the Attorney General and others in the Trump Administration from stifling the budding cannabis industry. If the federal government chooses to interfere in these state matters, it’s up to Congress to prevent this harmful overreach.”

Specifically, HR 4779 bars federal funding for any efforts that seek to “detain, prosecute, sentence, or initiate civil proceedings against and individual, business or property that is involved in the cultivation, distribution, possession, dispensation, or the use of cannabis in accordance with the law or regulation of the state or unit of local government in which the individual is located.”

It also prohibits the federal government from taking any punitive action against a financial institution “solely because the institution provides financial services to an entity” that is involved in state-sanctioned marijuana-related activities.


NORML’s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high quality marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable.

For more information, visit www.norml.org and view our Fact Sheets at http://norml.org/marijuana/fact-sheets

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