Medical marijuana businesses have experienced a sense of safety ever since what is known as the ‘Rohrabacher-Farr’ amendment passed in Congress in 2014. The federal provision prohibits the Justice Department from interfering in state-authorized medical marijuana programs. When it first passed, a lot of activists and industry members were wondering how much teeth the provision had. Multiple victories in court since the provision’s passage have proven that the measure is indeed valid.
The provision will expire at the end of this month if it is not extended. The Trump administration has talked a lot about possible ‘increased enforcement’ of federal prohibition but has directed those veiled threats towards recreational marijuana. That has led many to believe that medical marijuana is completely off limits, and the reasoning behind such claims usually involves comments that Trump has made indicating that he fully supports medical marijuana.
But I each time I hear that logic being thrown around I can’ help but wonder if the real motivation for leaving medical marijuana out of the vague threats is because of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. Would the rhetoric still be the same if that provision was not in place? Because I have to believe that if people like Jeff Sessions had their way, they wouldn’t just be focused on recreational marijuana and would instead also go after medical too.
By no means am I saying that’s what I would prefer, as I obviously support the complete end to federal prohibition for both recreational and medical marijuana. But the Trump administration is comprised of a bunch of anti-marijuana crusaders, and I can’t help but feel a bit of anxiety and fear as the expiration date for the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment nears. The protections are tied to the federal spending budget, which is obviously a polarizing topic in Congress. I just hope that the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which will have a new name if passed because of Sam Farr’s retirement, gets renewed and not lost in the shuffle as members of Congress tear each other’s throats out trying to get their version of a spending budget passed.
Marijuana political analysts seem to feel that the provision will get temporarily extended at the least, but hopefully it will be replaced for a longer period than a temporary extension, which has already happened. It’s quite possible that the provision gets a temporary extension again as members of Congress kick the spending budget fight down the road. Only time will tell. In the meantime, there’s no need to panic, but definitely a need to keep it on your radar and be aware and concerned about the upcoming expiration (April 28th) of the amendment.