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Lawmakers Push To Continue Medical Marijuana Protections



A bipartisan group of members of Congress is asking House and Senate leadership to continue a current provision that protects state medical marijuana laws from federal interference.

“The provision, which first became law in December 2014, has successfully protected patients, providers, and businesses against federal prosecution, so long as they act within the confines of their state’s medical marijuana laws,” 66 House members wrote in a letter delivered to Republican and Democratic House and Senate leaders on Tuesday.

The measure, which prevents the U.S, Department of Justice from spending money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws, has since been extended each year. It, along with current federal funding levels and other policy riders, is set to expire on December 8, unless Congress and President Trump can agree on a Fiscal Year 2018 spending package or enact a short-term extension.

“These protections extend to 46 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, all of which allow some form of medical marijuana that is strictly prohibited by the federal government—from CBD oils to the full plant,” the supportive members of Congress wrote.

Twenty-eight of the new letter’s signatories are Republicans.

“This provision clearly has broad, bipartisan support — and Americans overwhelmingly agree,” Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) who, along with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), is a lead sponsor of the amendment, told Marijuana Moment via e-mail. “Congress should continue to protect the millions of patients across America who rely on medical marijuana for treatment. It shouldn’t even be a question.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted earlier this year to continue the protections into 2018, but House leadership blocked a floor vote on the measure.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked congressional leaders in a letter earlier this year not to extend the medical cannabis rider.

Separately on Wednesday, Sessions announced that the Justice Department is currently reviewing Obama-era guidance that generally allows states to implement their own marijuana laws without federal interference.

Trump Administration Considering Marijuana Policy Changes, Sessions Says

Read the full text of the new bipartisan letter below:

Congressional Medical Marijuana Letter by tomangell on Scribd

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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