Update: Done Deal, details.
Not a done deal. The vote will be Friday. Medical marijuana patients and businesses that follow state laws could continue to be protected from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the federal drug agents that work for him under a provision contained in new must-pass legislation revealed on Wednesday.
If the rider placed in the omnibus package, signed by 62 legislators stays the DOJ will again be prevented from using funds to raid medical Cannabis dispensaries until September 30th 2018. This does not protect recreational Cannabis.
“None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used to enforce federal prohibitions involving the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes that are permitted by the laws of the state, the District of Columbia, or US. territory where the act was committed, or to prevent states, the District of Columbia, or US. territories from implementing their own laws that permit the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes.”
Last month, for example, a bipartisan group of 18 senators including Mazie Hirono sent a letter to congressional leaders asking that they broaden the language.
“For the last several years, states have changed their regulatory regimes governing marijuana. What began with relatively isolated experiments has spread across the country as citizens have expressed their will through the democratic process,” the lawmakers, led by Colorado Sens. Cory Gardner (R) and Michael Bennet (D), wrote in a letter sent to the Senate’s top appropriations decision makers on Monday. “Today, the vast majority of states – 29 in all – have some form of reduced restrictions on marijuana. Other states have proposals to do the same. These states crafted serious, thoughtful regulatory regimes.”
In a separate letter sent to appropriations leaders, 14 members of Congress are asking to cut funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s cannabis eradication program.
“Throughout the country, states are increasingly turning away from marijuana prohibition and enacting alternative policies to lower crime rates, free up limited law enforcement resources, and keep drugs out of the hands of children,” the wrote. “Despite both the Cannabis Eradication Program’s proven ineffectiveness and the seismic shift in attitudes on marijuana policy within Congress and across our nation, the DEA continues to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on this program, spending $22 million in 2015 alone. There is no justification for spending this kind of money on an antiquated program never shown to be effective.”
Hawaii legislators are not supporting Cannabis legalization even though a majority of Hawaii voters support legalization.
The DEA’s #Cannabis Eradication Program is an antiquated one never shown to be effective. That’s why w/ @RepJaredPolis & a bipartisan group of Members we’re urging House leadership & appropriators to stop funding this wasteful program. More on our letter: https://t.co/Q7PVVVOeQX. pic.twitter.com/1JzmOScTjK
— Rep. Ted Lieu (@RepTedLieu) March 16, 2018
Read the full text of the new medical marijuana from lawmakers below:
FY2019 Protect State Medical Marijuana Programs 03.16.2018 by tomangell on Scribd
“We are concerned about the Department of Justice enforcing federal marijuana law in a way that blocks implementation of marijuana reform laws in those states that have passed such reforms,” 59 House Republicans and Democrats wrote in a separate letter on Friday. “The issue at hand is whether the federal government’s marijuana policy violates the principles of federalism and the Tenth Amendment. Consistent with those principles, we believe that states ought to retain jurisdiction over most criminal justice matters within their borders. This is how the Founders intended our system to function.”