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Congress Includes Marijuana Riders In Omnibus Spending Bill

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marijuana reform bill legislature session legislative billsLate last night I received an e-mail from Tom Angell (who by the way doesn’t seem to sleep!) regarding the federal omnibus spending bill. The spending bill includes riders pertaining to marijuana. Some of the provisions include (provided by Tom and Marijuana Majority):

* Prevent the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. (Similar language was included in the FY 2015 budget and is current law.)

* Prevent the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state industrial hemp research programs. (Similar language was included in the FY 2015 budget and is current law.)

The omnibus spending bill is expected to pass, which would obviously be good from the standpoint of preventing federal interference with medical marijuana and hemp. Unfortunately the riders don’t go far enough. There are no provisions for fixing the Department of Veterans Affairs prohibition its doctors talking about medical marijuana with patients, even when they know that it will help the patients. Also, there are no banking provisions, which are desperately needed for the emerging cannabis industry. The omnibus spending bill also includes language from previous years’ spending measures that has prevented D.C. from allowing taxed marijuana sales. Currently possession and cultivation of marijuana is legal in D.C., but selling it and taxing it is not.

Below is a statement from Tom Angell from the Marijuana Majority. Please consider making a donation to them so that they can continue their amazing work:

“While marijuana was once treated like a dangerous third-rail by most elected officials, the inclusion of these provisions demonstrates how it has now become a mainstream issue at the forefront of American politics and policymaking. Polls show that a growing majority of voters support ending prohibition, and lawmakers can’t help but listen.

“This is the second year in a row that Congress is using the appropriations process to tell federal agents and prosecutors not to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. But so far the Department of Justice has taken the absurd position that these spending provisions don’t actually prevent them from going after patients and providers who operate legally under state policies. The intent of Congress is clear, and so is the will of the American people. Since the Justice Department is being so stubborn, the next step should be for lawmakers to pass permanent standalone legislation that goes beyond these temporary spending riders. Then the DEA will have a much harder time undermining Congress and voters.”

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