This morning the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations voted to include an amendment in a larger spending bill that prohibits the federal government from interfering with state-level medical cannabis laws.
The amendment, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (R-VT), was included in the FY2018 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. The amendment explicitly prevents the government from using federal funds to interfere with states that have legalized medical cannabis.
“This success of the Leahy medical cannabis amendment acknowledges, yet again, that the federal government should not interfere with state medical cannabis programs,” says Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access. “The passage of the Leahy medical cannabis amendment also shows that Senate support exists for the central elements of the CARERS Act. The CARERS Act would make the protections in Leahy medical cannabis amendment permanent and create a much needed framework for research and federal and state cooperation.”
“We are thrilled at this vote,” said Beth Collins, Senior Director of Government Relations and External Affairs at Americans for Safe Access. “With 91 Americans a day dying from opioid overdose, and a nearly 25% decrease in opioid overdose deaths in states with medical cannabis programs, it is crucial that states are able to continue without federal interference.”
When introducing the amendment, Senator Leahy stated, “We have more important things for the justice department to do than tracking down physicians or epileptics who are using medical marijuana legally in their state.”