2017 Federal Spending Bill Extends Key Marijuana Protections

WASHINGTON – May 1, 2017
Marijuana advocates have reason to celebrate.

The recent Omnibus spending bill passed by the 115th GOP led Congress, maintains a key provision that has been protecting legal medical marijuana protections operations from federal prosecution since 2014.

Originally introduced in 2003, the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment did not become law until inclusion in the 2014 Omnibus Spending Bill. The amendment, known now as Section 542, is hidden away on page 223 of a 2000+ page spending bill. The section reads as follows:

Omnibus Spending Bill | Appropriations Act, 2016

Section 542. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guan, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Founding member of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), was very pleased this key section made it into the spending bill. “Medical marijuana patients and the businesses that support them now have a measure of certainty,” said the congressman in a brief statement.

Watch as Rep. Blumenauer launches the Congressional Cannabis Caucus at the U.S. Capitol on February 16th, 2017.

The 115th GOP led Congress is shifting views on marijuana legalization. Several marijuana legalization bills have been introduced in the 115th Congress, by Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Federal legalization of medical marijuana would save government more than $3 billion annually. It’s also supported by the majority of Americans. Did you know that more than 3,500 people were sentenced to marijuana related federal offenses in 2016 alone?

Ok, that’a about enough of Mr. Sessions.

The Whitehouse might stoke fears with the appointment of Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General, but the U.S. Congress appears to be headed in another, more rational, direction.

The bill also continues support for research on industrial hemp – under Section 7606 of the Farm Bill (2014).

These provisions are not permanent.

The spending bill will only extend these key Marijuana Protections thru September, when Congress must again revisit the issue and also extend or pass an appropriations bill to avoid another looming government shutdown. Each time the budget has to be renewed, Congress must choose to retain or remove this key provision protecting medical marijuana programs in your state.

Tweet your thoughts to the President, @realDonaldTrump. Call your congressman and let them know how important safeguarding your cannabis rights are. Click on these links, to contact your representatives in the House and Senate! Consider getting you legislators’ office on the phone today and tell them you support permanent marijuana protections and legalization for adult-use!

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