Congressional Lawmakers Push Marijuana Protections For All States While GOP Member Seeks To End Medical Cannabis Rider

MJ moment

An amendment to protect all state and tribal marijuana programs from federal interference now has 15 cosponsors after its bipartisan proponents circulated a letter to build support this week. But a Republican opponent of reform is pushing a dueling proposal to end a more modest, longstanding rider that’s provided protections for medical cannabis states alone. The pro-reform amendment—which could receive a vote on the House floor next week—is being led by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA). The hope is to attach the proposal to 2022 fiscal year spending legislation for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). Meanwhile, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) is taking the unusual step of filing a competing measure that would cease federal protections for states with medical cannabis legalization on the books—including his own—that have been in place and renewed annually on a bipartisan basis since 2014. Given Democratic control of Congress and the increasingly cross-party nature of support for marijuana reform overall, advocates aren’t necessarily concerned about LaMalfa’s amendment. But while the GOP congressman has earned a reputation as a staunch reform opponent, going so far as to recently bulldoze illicit cannabis grow sites in California alongside local police, his proposal to end protections for the state’s decades-old medical cannabis program has raised eyebrows. On the other end, pro-reform lawmakers explained in a Dear Colleague letter this week that the appropriations revision they’re proposing would add “language preventing the Department of Justice from using any funds appropriated by Congress to enforce federal laws regarding activities that are legal under state, territorial, or tribal law with regard to marijuana, regardless of whether the marijuana laws are recreational or medicinal.” This language has been proposed in past sessions as well, passing the House last year and in 2019.…

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Source : Congressional Lawmakers Push Marijuana Protections For All States While GOP Member Seeks To End Medical Cannabis Rider

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