Once again, the U.S. Congress is taking up a Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill that contains a layer of protection for cannabis businesses. Whether the cannabis amendment gets through is a routine matter of debate in Washington, D.C., and this latest iteration is even more of an open question.
Historically, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment has conferred protection from federal law enforcement on state-licensed medical cannabis businesses. Because of its placement in the CJS bills, the amendment specifically bars the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) from using federal funds to prosecute state-compliant medical marijuana operators in states that have legal cannabis programs. It has been included in every budget deal passed in Congress since its introduction in 2014.
Now, the measure has morphed into the Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton-Lee amendment, and it’s been written to extend that federal protection to state-licensed adult-use cannabis businesses. This latest revival of the amendment was first reported by Marijuana Moment.
“It is time for Congress to expand these important protections to adult-use legalization states,” the team at NORML wrote in a message to its audience. “Today, nearly one in four Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal under state statute. This expanded language passed the House last year, but was later removed by the Senate leadership.”