Here’s some good news coming out of the Trump administration this month: The Feds must keep their hands off state medical marijuana laws until Dec. 8. After that, it’s anybody’s guess as to what Attorney General Jeff Sessions will do.
When President Donald Trump and congressional Democratic leaders reached a temporary budget agreement to approve emergency hurricane relief, a little-noticed clause was included that will protect state from federal overreach. As Forbes reported:
The agreement included a Rohrabacher-Blumenauer clause (a.k.a. Rohrabacher-Farr), which will effectively serve to protect state medical marijuana programs from intrusion by federal authorities until Dec. 8, 2017.
The clause stipulates that the U.S. Department of Justice may not use any of its funds to prevent states, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico from “implementing a law that authorizes the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” The language of the clause has appeared in proposed legislation since 2003, and finally became law in 2014 — joining the ‘Cole Memo’ as one of two landmark federal texts concerning cannabis.
Sessions, in speeches and statements throughout the spring and summer, indicated that he was against such protections and it appeared the longtime drug warrior was hell bent on cracking down on the state cannabis regulations.
Related Story: The GOP Blocks Vote To Protect Medical Marijuana States
Here is a quick timeline of what has transpired this year:
- In May, the controversial attorney general sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to reject federal law established by the Obama administration that allowed states to enforce medical marijuana policies without interference from Washington D.C.
- In July the Senate Appropriations Committee ignored Sessions and approved a version of the amendment.
- In August, a U.S. District Court upheld the ruling.
- Earlier this month, the GOP-led House Rules Committee rejected its version of the amendment.
- Trump, working with Democratic lawmakers , agreed to include the clause, at least until December.
Despite the extension, states are still reluctant to move to far with their marijuana regulations. The amendment remains in limbo and there is a feeling among many political insiders that Sessions will be gone long before December.