After months of ramping up anti-marijuana rhetoric, Jeff Sessions was almost in position to put the federal budget where his mouth is. Back in September, the House Committee of Rules rejected the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer medical marijuana provision for the 2018 federal budget, The Hill reports. Apparently several top GOP officials leading the House Rules Committee wouldn’t allow a full House vote on the provision.
As of Dec. 7th, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer provision was extended with the stopgap spending bill that President Trump signed, The Cannabis reports. This prevents a government shut down and extends protections until Dec. 22, at which point a long time solution will need to be negotiated. Drug policy specialists speculate medical marijuana protections will remain to ensure the GOP’s precarious chemistry remains intact for the upcoming tax bill vote.
The provision in question blocks the federal government from spending money on prosecuting marijuana related offenses as long as they’re following state laws set forth by the Cole Memo, a strict set of guidelines intended to keep state run cannabis businesses out of the watchful eye of the DEA. It’s one of only concrete blockades keeping Sessions from sicking the DEA on cannabis safe states.
Two congressmen, along with 64 co-signers wrote a letter in defense of the provision for medical cannabis, The Cannabist reports. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, wrote a letter to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi to convince them to keep protections in place for patients and business owners within state regulated cannabis markets. Rohrabacher and Blumenauer stated ending these protections “goes against the will of the american people.”
If the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment doesn’t get extended, there’s still a lot of hurdles keeping Sessions and the DEA from raiding dispensaries, one of them being man power. Most of the DEA’s 7000 agents are dealing with our nations opioid epidemic after President Trump declared it a national crisis last month, The Sacremento Bee reports.