U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Medical Marijuana Protections

Cannabis Business Times/June 14, 2018/Eric Sandy

A U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee vote pushed state-legal medical marijuana protections even further down the legislative process on June 14, echoing what the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment achieved in past spending bills. This time around, though, an amendment offered by U.S. Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) is gathering support as part of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) spending bill, which directly funds U.S. Department of Justice operations.

The amendment would bar the DOJ from spending money on the prosecution of any licensed medical cannabis business or operator in states where medical cannabis is legal.

“Once again, members of Congress have signaled that protecting state-legal medical cannabis is no longer a controversial issue,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, in a public statement. “From protecting state medical cannabis programs from being targeted by federal law enforcement to growing support for allowing banks to work with the cannabis industry, lawmakers are increasingly unwilling to waste taxpayer money interfering with legal and responsible cannabis businesses.”

What’s next? These departmental spending bills will be rolled into the 2019 federal budget, which will garner full floor votes in the House and Senate later this year. We’ll be keeping track of this policy’s progress.