House Votes To Keep Medical Cannabis Protections In Place Until Dec 22

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The US House of Representatives on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, voted to keep protections in place that prevent the Department of Justice from going after state-legal medical cannabis businesses. The bill they approved is not the annual appropriations bill, rather it is a continuing resolution that only keeps the federal government funded and operating through December 22.

The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment is a “rider” that was added to the Commerce, Justice Science, and Related Agencies appropriations legislation. That bill provides annual funding for the Department of Justice. The amendment prevents the DOJ from spending any of the funds they were appropriated by Congress to interfere with state medical marijuana programs, and federal courts have ruled that the amendment prevents the DOJ from prosecuting medical cannabis businesses in states that have legalized medical cannabis.

The amendment has to be introduced and added to annual appropriations legislation each year. The federal fiscal year ends on September 30. Once again this year Congress missed the deadline for approving annual appropriations legislation. Rather than shut down government operations, Congress can pass a stopgap measure called a “continuing resolution.” That CR allows government to continue operating at previously agreed funding levels — basically extending the previous year’s appropriations bill into the current fiscal year.

Approval by the House allows the continuing resolution to move to the Senate. If and when the bill passes the Senate, it goes to the White House for signature.

More Information:

Office of Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) News Release, Dec. 7, 2017: House Votes to Extend Critical Medical Marijuana Protections Through December 22

House Appropriations Committee News Release, Dec. 7, 2017: House Passes Resolution to Continue Government Operations and Prevent a Shutdown

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