Biden Budget Keeps Medical Marijuana Protections But Would Block D.C. From Legalizing Recreational Sales

MJ moment

President Joe Biden wants to maintain a long-standing policy that’s protected state medical marijuana laws from Justice Department interference as part of his fiscal year 2022 budget proposal—a notable administration decision given that previous presidents from both parties have called for its elimination in their annual plans. But Biden wants to continue to block Washington, D.C. from using its own tax dollars to legalize adult-use marijuana sales, declining to recommend that current language barring such activity be eliminated. The budget approach is raising questions about whether the president is drawing a line in the sand by supporting medical cannabis states but denying D.C. the right to implement sales as the mayor and local legislators want. If so, it would reflect his overall marijuana policy position: yes to medical cannabis, no to recreational marijuana. The medical cannabis rider, which has been renewed in appropriations legislation every year since 2014, stipulates the the Justice Department can’t use its funds to prevent states or territories “from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” Past administrations—both Democratic and Republican—have proposed scrapping that language. President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama each called for ending the policy as part of their budget proposals. But Congress has consistently upheld it regardless. During the 2019 appropriations season, the House approved an even more expansive amendment that would have provided protections for all state and territory marijuana programs, rather than just medical cannabis systems. But the Senate did not follow suit and the provision was not included in final spending bill sent to Trump’s desk. When Trump signed that large-scale spending legislation in 2019, he attached a statement that said he is empowered to ignore the congressionally approved medical cannabis rider, stating that the administration “will treat this provision consistent…

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Source : Biden Budget Keeps Medical Marijuana Protections But Would Block D.C. From Legalizing Recreational Sales

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