The 85 words crammed into a congressional bill at the end of the Obama administration, known then as the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment, which prohibits the Justice Department from prosecuting medical marijuana in MMJ-legal states, is under assault with the threat of disappearing.
We can’t allow that happen.
We have until December 8 before Congress may decide to exclude the amendment from its 2018 spending bill.
The prospect that MMJ protections could expire has produced anxiety in the industry, not to mention for the millions who rely on cannabis for medical purposes.
“It is shocking to think that this is at risk,” said Sarah Trumble, of the Third Way, a think tank that advocates easing federal restrictions on cannabis. “This would give the attorney general a blank check to go after medical marijuana. Without it, he might try, but it would be really hard for him.”
As Congress works to finalize the 2018 spending bill, the fate of this crucial legislation protecting medical cannabis hangs in the balance due to differences in House and Senate spending legislation.
The first sign of trouble came in early September, when anti-weed Texas Republican Pete Sessions blocked a series of marijuana-related amendments from consideration.
Although Congress recently reaffirmed its support for the amendment, which was tucked into a debt and disaster relief bill, both houses must agree when it comes up for funding as part of the final federal budget.
The uncertain fate of the amendment and what it means for medical marijuana is also creating tension among Republicans, many of whom voted to keep it.
“Marijuana got more votes than Trump. There are millions of Republicans and independents who voted for it,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Portland, Oregon, co-sponsor of the latest version of the amendment, now called the Rohrabacher-Blumenaur Amendment.
Earl Rohrabacher, co-author of the amendment and a Trump supporter, said lawmakers have not reconsidered their support for the amendment despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ hysterical lobbying, in which he told Congress that it would immunize drug runners and gangs.
Nevertheless, the cannabis industry is nervous, and we all should be.
While a pathway exists for the Rohrabacher-Blumenaur Amendment to be signed into law by the end of the year, there is still the unsettling possibility that developments could result in its exclusion from the final budget.
So, let us remain optimistic but proactive: We have until December 8 to contact our members of Congress and urge them to include these important MMJ patient protections. Please go here and make your voice heard.