If you haven’t already heard, the Federal Omnibus package passed. Officially named, “‘Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (xml version)” it funds the government. The good news for medical marijuana patients is that the money used to fund the government will not be used against us.
The texts related to medical marijuana and hemp are fairly clear:
Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.
The DEA are under the DOJ in case you were wondering. Who will have the pleasure of updating their Wikipedia page?
Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.
But it doesn’t mean you won’t go to jail for even a gram over the limits imposed within the states. Just to be sure the prison system has money, the following was added:
“The Federal Prison Industries, Incorporated, is hereby authorized to make such expenditures within the limits of funds and borrowing authority available, and in accord with the law, and to make such contracts and commitments without regard to fiscal year limitations as provided by section 9104 of title 31, United States Code, as may be necessary in carrying out the program set forth in the budget for the current fiscal year for such corporation.”
The new law also states:
Sec. 509. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for any activity that promotes the legalization of any drug or other substance included in schedule I of the schedules of controlled substances established under section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act except for normal and recognized executive-congressional communications.
(b) The limitation in subsection (a) shall not apply when there is significant medical evidence of a therapeutic advantage to the use of such drug or other substance or that federally sponsored clinical trials are being conducted to determine therapeutic advantage.
Does this mean we may soon see federal government agencies supporting medical marijuana patients?
Veterans with PTSD, for example, may want to ask their VHA contacts about Title 2, specifically this paragraph:
“…notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall establish a priority for the provision of medical treatment for veterans who have service-connected disabilities, lower income, or have special needs: Provided further, That notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall give priority funding for the provision of basic medical benefits to veterans in enrollment priority groups 1 through 6: Provided further, That notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may authorize the dispensing of prescription drugs from Veterans Health Administration facilities to enrolled veterans with privately written prescriptions based on requirements established by the Secretary: Provided further, That the implementation of the program described in the previous proviso shall incur no additional cost to the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
and this section in Title 8:
“Provided, That funds available for operation and maintenance shall be available for providing humanitarian and similar assistance by using Civic Action Teams in the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands and freely associated states of Micronesia, pursuant to the Compact of Free Association as authorized by Public Law 99–239: Provided further, That upon a determination by the Secretary of the Army that such action is beneficial for graduate medical education programs conducted at Army medical facilities located in Hawaii, the Secretary of the Army may authorize the provision of medical services at such facilities and transportation to such facilities, on a nonreimbursable basis, for civilian patients from American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and Guam.”
“So as it stands right now, the State of Hawaii eg; your Representatives, Senators, Governor or anyone else in state government can further amend laws to help patients obtain medicine.” -HawaiiCannabis.org
The right thing to do and the very best thing to do for patients would be to legalize cannabis. That’s what Americans want. The war on drugs harms patients. For anyone engaged in efforts to help support patients, this is a clear win. There will be backlash and loopholes.
I celebrated by editing the DEAs Wikipedia page to include:
“On December 13th, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 was passed. This Act states in part that the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency cannot use Federal funds to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. “