Federal lawmakers met on Capitol Hill last week in a prolonged attempt to stop the United States Drug Enforcement Administration from running statewide medical cannabis programs. Last Thursday, the United States Senate Appropriations Committee accepted a rider designated to halt the Department of Justice from using their federal funds to stop any state or the United States territory that has legalized cannabis for medicinal reasons.

The rider, which was proposed by Senator Barbara Mikulski, would help achieve this endeavor by just stopping the Department from using federal funds “to prevent any [state] from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

It seems as though rider is only a short-term solution to the issue between state and federal cannabis laws, but it would give the crucial protection needed to stop the Drug Enforcement Administration from attacking and stopping businesses, patients, and customers taking part in the cannabis industry.

Measures such as this one have been added into the federal budget for the last few years, however, because these riders were not an official part of federal policy, they need to be put in again every year. Cannabis proponent state that as these patches are not the perfect fix, they do give a legal protection that that is important in keeping the marijuana industry alive and well.

“This measure won’t force the DEA to act compassionately, but it will limit its capacity to act callously,” director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, Robert Capecchi said in an email. “The DEA should not be using federal tax dollars to go after patients and care providers who are following state laws. It’s a huge waste of resources, and it often results in seriously ill patients and their caregivers being needlessly dragged into the criminal justice system.”


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