Bipartisan Lawmakers Want Federal Protections For Marijuana States In Next Spending Bill

MJ moment

A bipartisan coalition of dozens of congressional lawmakers on Thursday sent a letter urging leaders of a key committee to include provisions protecting all state, territory and tribal marijuana programs from federal interference in upcoming annual spending legislation when it is introduced. The sign-on letter—led by Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-chairs Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), along with Reps. Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)—notes the growing number of states that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational purposes and argues that the Department of Justice should be barred from enforcing prohibition against citizens who comply with those local policies. “Most of these [legalization] laws were decided by ballot initiatives,” the lawmakers said. “We believe that the federal government should not interfere with these programs and the will of the citizens of these states.” To that end, the group is asking leadership in a powerful House Appropriations subcommittee to include a rider in the base bill of forthcoming spending legislation that would prevent the Justice Department from using its funds to intervene in legal, adult-use marijuana markets. They also said that an existing amendment to protect medical cannabis states should be renewed, as it has annually since 2014. The House has approved spending bills with the broader language for the past two years, but because they weren’t attached to the base bill, they had to be introduced and voted on as amendments. That’s what the lawmakers are asking to avoid this round by including the protections from the start when the measure is first introduced. To date, the Senate has not followed suit in approving the broad rider, and the adult-use protections have not made it into final legislation that has been signed into law. When it comes to the narrower medical cannabis-focused protections, those have…

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Source : Bipartisan Lawmakers Want Federal Protections For Marijuana States In Next Spending Bill

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