With Marijuana state laws threatened, a new amendment could potentially help to give states the rights they deserve. Occurring on July 27th, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) went to the Senate and successfully proposed and passed the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment in the Senate Appropriations Committee which will protect lawful medical marijuana programs from being impeded upon by the Dept. of Justice.

This bill was initially enacted by Congress in early 2014. The amendment basically states that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.” Last August, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Unanimously ruled that the language bars the federal government from enacting legal means of action against any single person involved in a medical marijuana-related without having evidence that the defendant is in clear violation of state law.

The decision to reinstate the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment language by the Senate committee shows that there is compassion and common sense when it comes to marijuana policy.

With the majority of states having either legalization for medical or recreational use and an over 90% approval rating from the public for use of marijuana as a medicine, Congress should step out of the way when it comes to these new laws.

Whether or not the House of Representatives will choose to have a vote on the new amendment is still undecided. The language of the amendment was unfortunately not included in the version of the 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) bill which passed through the House Appropriations Committee earlier this month. Around a year ago, the amendment did pass on the floor of the house with a strong vote of 242-186.

The amendment had been reauthorized by Congress early in May which was part of a short-term spending package but due to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who spent his time aggressively lobbying leadership to ignore the provisions. President Trump also signed a statement objecting the Rohrbacher-Blumenauer provision. Because of this, the state of the amendment is unclear at this time.

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