Congress Acts To Protect Medical Marijuana From Jeff Sessions
New legislation revealed on Wednesday will continue to protect medical marijuana in states where it has been legalized, despite Jeff Sessions' best attempts to endanger it.
[video width="840" height="600" mp4="http://blog.greenrush.com/wp-content/uploads/protect-mmj-video.mp4"][/video]
The policy bars the Department of Justice from spending money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. This policy has been in place since 2014, however, its continuation was in question after Sessions asked Congress not to extend it and House leaders blocked a vote on the issue.
The continuation of this policy is expected to run until the end of the 2018 fiscal year in September, however, a bi-partisan group of members of Congress is pushing to protect medical marijuana as part of the 2019 Fiscal Year spending legislation.
59 House Republicans and Democrats wrote in a letter last Friday, "We are concerned about the Department of Justice enforcing marijuana law in a way that blocks implementation of marijuana reform laws in those states that have passed such reforms... 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 own borders. This is how the Founders intended our system to function."
Because the provisions to protect medical marijuana are tied to government spending, they must be reviewed and approved each year, resulting in confusion and uncertainty for those within the cannabis industry.
Earlier this year, Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo, a separate Obama-era policy that had protected medical marijuana in states where it was legal by prohibiting federal enforcement agencies from getting involved in legal cannabis-related affairs in those states.
Sessions' move was met with substantial backlash, both from within and outside his own party. As a result of his continued attack on legal cannabis in the United States, some members of Congress have proposed adding a new provision that protects all state marijuana laws and goes further to protect medical marijuana by making sure such a provision is not only tied to spending legislation.
Congress must pass the new appropriations legislation by Friday.