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Congress’ 2017 Budget Plan Reauthorizes Protections For State Medical Cannabis Programs

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 4, 2017

    thumbs_upSpending legislation approved by Congress and signed into law reauthorizes language protecting state-sanctioned medical marijuana and industrial hemp programs.

    Specifically, Section 537 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, states that no federal funds may be appropriated to “prevent any [state] from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana..” That language, initially passed by Congress in 2014, is now known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.

    A similarly worded amendment protecting state-sponsored hemp programs was also reauthorized.

    Both amendments will remain in effect until September 30, 2017, at which time members of Congress will once again need to either reauthorize the language or let the provisions expire.

    Forty-six states now recognize the therapeutic use of either cannabis or cannabidiol derived products. Thirty states recognize hemp as an industrial crop.

    Eight States regulate the adult use, production, and sale of marijuana. Non-medical, retail marijuana businesses operating in these states are not protected by these amendments and still remain vulnerable to federal interference or prosecution. In February, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer publicly said that the administration was considering engaging in “greater enforcement” of federal anti-marijuana laws in these jurisdictions.

    25 Responses to “Congress’ 2017 Budget Plan Reauthorizes Protections For State Medical Cannabis Programs”

    1. Jared says:

      All this news I have been reading for the past week, senate and congress are trying to roadblock Jeff Sessions left and right from prosecuting in states that are legal.

      So why are they dragging their feet on the legal status of our medicine on the federal level, if they are defending it so much?? Makes no sense

    2. ND compassionate care says:

      What happens to the states that are not listed?
      North Dakota is missing and 216,000 voters approved for medical cannabis program on November 8.

    3. Mark Mitcham says:

      Non-medical marijuana IS hemp! Otherwise, it’s all medical, with or without an illegal smile! So, fuck off,Sean Spicer!

    4. Cat Cassie says:

      How did this happen? How did a traitor get his dirty little hands on our country? We have come such a long, long way to have it destroyed just like that. And the thing that makes it so hard to take is that legalization is working…it’s working!

    5. Miles says:

      I think most Americans (the real ones that believe in liberty and democracy) can all agree that Chris Christie is incredibly ignorant; perhaps willfully. Take a look at his most recent garbage:

      http://www.alternet.org/drugs/chris-christie-deranged-reefer-madness-rant

      I just hope the people of New Jersey that voted for him have learned their lessons!

    6. Julian says:

      While Federal Congress is still trying to figure out how this dumpster fire called Trumpcare is going to give them a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting reelected, state legislatures are firing it up on marijuana policy. Vermont just passed a marijuana reform bill in the Senate and House legislatively… that means even if their Governor smokes his chances at reelection and veteos it, already we have set a judicial precedent that could change the outcome of a Supreme Court decision and backfire on Sessions if he desires to spend precious political capitol attacking state marijuana legalization.
      And whats happening right now in the non-voter initiative state of Texas is historic; the state House is set to vote on the first marijuana reform legislation, HB81 today to decriminalize, in 30 years, since Keith Stroup and Goldstein stopped Texans from going to life in prison for small nonviolent possessions of marijuana.
      Marijuana refugees are flying and driving down from Colorado to testify and Republican legislators are cosponsoring. No voter initiative, no referendums, just old fashioned meet n greet the truth in their face citizen lobbying. I am so proud of what America is accomplishing in the face of such a predatory menace from private prisons and opiate pharmaceuticals. Keep up the good fight. And never mind my previous post; I was catching up on 10 lost years of Its Always Sunny in Phili and I guess I got a little carried away. Focus on the Act tab people!!! :-)

    7. Barry Grissom says:

      Have you seen this from Trump’s signing the CR? The way I read it says, I’ll use money for DOJ as I see fit with no interference from Congress.
      Division B, section 537 provides that the Department of Justice may not use any funds to prevent implementation of medical marijuana laws by various States and territories. I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
      Time to sue DOJ just like the 9th Circut case.

      • Miles says:

        I am definately for any drug related policy change that makes Kevin Sabet unhappy! He is a loser who continues to try to enforce his personal morality on the rest of us. He thinks anyone who uses marijuana for any reason should be sent to drug rehab or jail. In other words, he is the enemy of freedom loving people and I am happy that he is unahappy with Trumps move!

        • TheOracle says:

          I’m right there with you about Kevin Sabet and the other prohibitionists being unhappy.

          I’m not happy until they’re not happy!

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        @ dave,
        Kevin Sabet said the news felt like “a sucker punch” to him. There’s your lesson about Trump: he has no principle whatsoever; he is only out for himself.

        The key word here is “sucker.” Anyone who gives their loyalty to Trump is a sucker. Learn from this!

    8. TheOracle says:

      Feds still have prohibited DC from implementing legalization. Trump is cutting the drug czar’s office’s funding by 95%. Christie’s supposed to run some other drugs thing they set up to deal with illegal drugs. Money getting shifted to there? I still want memos from Sessions that he is not going to mess with the cannabis community.

      • Julian says:

        As you surmised on the next blog, Trump is not reversing prohibition, he just wants to give the budget to a new faux office he commissioned to Chris Christi to “fight the opiate epidemic.” (Because prohibition really works… for the crooks in office).

    9. Sean says:

      Despite Trump signing that provision, he still intends crack down on legal marijuana. I don’t blame Trump. I blame the stupidity of the American people for allowing Trump to get elected. You Trump voters voted for this, and now America will pay. So what is NORML’s plan? Wait until 2025? Do you really think Trump cares about your cannabis rights. Americans, generally speaking are the stupidest people on Earth.America will fall!

      • TheOracle says:

        The civil disobedience and Resistance to authoritarian rule that has been going on for decades will continue. If Trump voters knew at the time they were being influenced by hackers enough of the last minute-deciders may not have voted for him. True, Trump cannabis consumer voters are going to make us suffer along with them for whatever actions Trump takes against the cannabis community. The cannabis community has been resisting for decades already, many of us having built bridges and joined forces with AIDS activists and the LGBTQ community–some of us are members of both. A greater Resistance movement has grown out of the orchestration that has put Trump in the White House. That can be undone. Once he gets Wall Street and Big Business their tax cuts at the expense of affordable health care for all citizens, they won’t need him any more and Trump can have an early exit. He said everybody’s going to have health care so people actually expect him to negotiate it since the braggart keeps touting what a superior negotiator he is and how stupid and incompetent everybody else it. Wall Streeters are greedy money grubbers and regular folks need the cannabis jobs, which routinely pay more than minimum wage. Trump has no jobs plan, and the rhetoric is simply cut taxes and that money being freed up will be used to create jobs. Great, and in the cannabis industry too. Let it be! Let it be! Follow my words of wisdom and let cannabis be legalized.

      • Julian says:

        NORML’s “plan” is on the green “ACT” tab on this main web screen.
        Ask not what marijuana legalization can do for you but what you can do for marijuana legalization.

      • Jose Valdez says:

        I Say BULLSHIT! You’re NUTZ!!!!!

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