Congress Votes to Extend Federal Medical Marijuana Protections
The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have both approved legislation that will extend protections for state-level medical marijuana laws.
The legislation, which prevents a government shutdown, now goes to President Trump who is expected to quickly sign it into law. The measure only extends the protections and prevents a shutdown for two weeks, to December 22nd. Congress must approve another extension by then or most government spending will be halted and the federal law that prevents the government from attacking state-level medical marijuana laws will become invalid.
The medical marijuana protections currently in place and extended by Congress stems from an amendment introduced by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and former Representative Sam Farr (D-CA). The provision prohibits the Department of Justice (which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration) from using funds to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized the plant for medical purposes. The amendment was first approved in May of 2014.
Congress’ vote also extends protections on state-level hemp research programs.