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Federal Medical Marijuana Protections Temporarily Extended

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director December 22, 2017

    Medical marijuanaCongressional leadership voted to enact a four-week continuing resolution that maintains present federal spending levels and priorities through January 19, 2018. The resolution extends medical cannabis patient protections imposed by the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment until that date.

    The amendment, which has been in place since 2014, maintains that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

    “Patients around the country who rely on medical marijuana for treatment—and the businesses that serve them—now have some measure of certainty. Our fight, however, continues to maintain these important protections in the next funding bill passed by Congress.”
    – Congressman Earl Blumenauer, (D-OR)

    Reps Rohrabacher and Blumenauer are both co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

    Congressional leadership must reauthorize this language as part of the forthcoming budget in order for the provisions to stay in effect. In July, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) offered identical language before the Senate Appropriations Committee, which approved it. However, House Rules Committee Chair Peter Sessions (R-TX) has refused to allow House members to vote on similar language. The provision will now be considered by House and Senate leadership when the two chambers’ appropriations bills are reconciled.

    Send a message to your federal lawmakers in support of continuing these protections beyond January 19th by clicking here. 

    31 responses to “Federal Medical Marijuana Protections Temporarily Extended”

    1. Matt says:

      Good news to hear, but still disappointing, as the tension will only continue until the 19th.

      AG Sessions did indeed pay a visit to MY hometown very recently. He spoke about violent crime, and assigned two prosecutors to the Northern Ohio region. I currently reside in nearby Monroe County, but Toledo is right over the border. It was a closed meeting, but there were about 40 protestors outside. Apparently nothing said with regards to marijuana….I wish I could have been there, but anything said would not have made a difference with this man, other than to show constant and continuing opposition which he is probably quite used to at this point.

      We can only hope RB can be extended for months rather than weeks, as I still believe Sessions is stuck with regards to resources for cracking down. The real problem, however, is with the Cole Memo. I do not think Sessions will go after medical. Recreational is a much easier target. Getting RB extended is NOT enough.

      Now….California comes online in Jan….Vermont, Conn., Michigan, and now, potenially, Ohio all look promising for next year in one degree or another…

      • Matt says:

        I will be back later with more. I recently tweeted opposition to the AG of Indiana, regarding his opposition to medical marijuana and his comments to one mayor. Indiana is a disaster of a state for legalization.

        All and all, this is good to hear. But recreational is what we need worry about. It is a much easier target for the DOJ. Still, if we can get more states on board with legalization, and we keep this proverbial train moving, it will only get harder and harder for the Federal government to shut us down.

        I do have much more to add, but I will do so later on…

        Hope you all are as well as can be during this hectic holiday season. 2018 will be a CRITICAL year, both for Congress and for our movement. Canada, too, remember. We are still in a very precarious position. I have a feeling PETER Sessions will try and pull what he did that unfortunate day. We need to be ready to counter that, hopefully our Reps. will. Jeff Sessions also recently met with our nemisis Kevin Sabet and others.

        The movement is still in grave danger, and next year is critical. Stay alert and keep fighting.

        Make legalization a New Year’s resolution. Celebrate around the Christmas “trees,” and let’s make 2018 the year in which we solidify and make ABSOLUTE our victory.

        Good tidings to you, and back on later.

        M

        • mexweed says:

          Noting frequent bi-polar references to “medical” and “recreational” in the news– we need to make sure everyone is aware of, and caring about “inspirational” (take heed, Indiana, Freedom of Religion, right?) and especially “occupational”– verifiable cases of useful WORK anyone, beginner or experienced specialist, can do better after a toke (this especially includes urban gardening and other handworkerly things that are good for the environment but always well rewarded).

          • mexweed says:

            PS forgot to put in “not” before “always well rewarded”– but in truth certain occupations are rewarding even if nobody pays you a dime. Finding our way to them is as simple as trying to do something useful, instructive and artistic after a 25-mg vapetoke.

        • Evening Bud says:

          Matt, I definitely hear what you’re saying. I’m one who believes that we shouldn’t celebrate until we have the victory in hand. I do agree that this year will be crucial, what with AG Sessions making probing attacks on legalization.

          It seems to me that Sessions has been a bit gun shy so far, his imbroglio over his false testimony at his hearing, and some of the other crises he’s had to attend to, occupying him. But, as I say, I’m far from in a celebratory mood.

          Trump has been moving very fast on many fronts since entering the WH: censoring govt EPA websites, alienating our European allies, signing Executive Orders like they’re going out of style (his criticisms of Obama notwithstanding), etc, but so far he’s been tentative on attacking MJ legalization. I don’t know if that’s an indication that he’s been advised not to, for political reasons–many of his supporters, I know just from comments on this forum, wanting legalization–or that he’s been too busy with those other matters (as well as the investigations, etc). I don’t trust that he’ll keep his nose out of it forever. But we’ll see I’m sure in this coming year.

          In the meantime, Nevada’s quick movement in Rec sales, and California’s impending movement on Rec sales, has and will help our cause immensely. Once Cali gets moving and the real bucks start pouring in, I have to believe it’ll be even tougher for Sessions to make a hard move.

          Money always talks with Republicans, but right now most GOP-dominant states still don’t have Rec legalization, so there will no little pressure from that flank on Sessions to allow Rec. That’s part of the reason I’m so happy with Cali’s soon-to-be Rec sales. Once those really big bucks start flowing in, I can’t help but believe that even reluctant GOpers will take notice. But we’ll see.

    2. Julian says:

      Thank you Justin. Thats what I suspected. 17 days for California to rake in some revenue!!

      Done and sent… with a personalized message: “Texas NORML is working on our Primary voter guide. Were watching Rep. Brady, Rep. Pete Sessions and vetting every candidate we can.”

      I know Senator Cornyn is on the Senate Finance Committee and holds some sway. And Ted Cruz should be pissing into his socks with the way Beto Orourke’s campaign is moving with a pro marijuana policy reform message.

      But it’s really the House that needs to decide if they can survive 2018 elections without renewing the Rohrabacher Blumenauer amendment. Thank God my racist, climate-denying prohibitionist Rep. Lamar Smith R-TX is retiring. Good news is a passionate Republican supporter for mmj, state Rep. Jason Isaac, R-TX may replace him if the full recreational supporting Democratic Candidate Joseph Kopser doesnt win on the Blue Sweep. What a dramatic shift in Congressional marijuana policy were heading for in 2018!

      This is the time to call and visit our state and Federal Congressman and vet our candidates on marijuana policy. We’re tipping the balance on prohibition but the rock isnt over the mountain yet. Keep pushing!

    3. Matt says:

      Oh yeah, two links on the visit by Sessions to Toledo, I tried to download the article from The Blade, but I need an online subscrip.

      http://www.wtol.com/story/37103443/chief-kral-says-ag-sessionss-crime-statistics-were-misleading

      and

      http://www.wtol.com/story/37095314/toledo-mayor-and-mayor-elect-react-to-jeff-sessions-speech

      Videos included. More to say, including a disgusting bust of a sweet elderly couple in Nebraska…

      Look at the DISGUSTING pose by these cops, wasting time and resources:

      http://www.yorknewstimes.com/news/elderly-couple-claims-marijuana-was-for-christmas-presents/article_bb5079d0-e599-11e7-85d9-6b4aad6e8048.html

      Later with more,

      M

      • Dain Bramage says:

        You can tell by the cops’ expressions that they are too stupid to understand just how stupid they actually look, standing there next to some bags of buds like they’re a couple of real real bad-asses or something.

        Ooooooh! How macho! Took down that elderly couple all by yourselves, did you? Just the fearless two of you? And your guns?

        Pussies.

        • Chris says:

          Yep. That’s pretty much the norm whenever a drug bust goes down. Big table whatnot full of the drugs with whoever officer/team did the bust.

          It’s all for show. The funny part being the countless other people who got their 60 pounds to it’s destination just fine.

          Yep, the drug war is working so well… not.

        • Matt says:

          Dain,

          I am not going to call them the grinches who pre-stole Christmas, as, frankly, they are just doing their jobs indeed and following the law. I have a great deal of respect for our police officers and the fine work they do, it is just the stupid law that needs to change and the prohibitionist, ultra-moralist mentality that needs to go, in addition to a huge overhaul of police CULTURE in our country.

          That said, yes, this is a disgusting joke, and a sad sight to see. Our prosecutors need reform in our country as well, as does the whole broken system, including probation reqs. This poor old couple will be hit with felony charges possibly, and remember that weather woman in Kentucky who’s colleague apparently may have turned her in for marijuana plants? Smh….

          The old couple will probably escape federal charges though, probably be put in some diversion program or turned over to family or some therapy home. Sigh….it is sad though.

          This post perhaps should have gone in the previous post on Georgia, here, lol. Remembered said NORML post after I had posted this on the Nebraska bust. The pictures truly disgust me.

          Here is the article on the Indiana AG. I tweeted some rebukes to him after reading this reprehensible story:

          http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/hammond-mayor-mcdermott-and-his-dog-confront-indiana-attorney-general/article_0917c0e7-95c3-5e3c-9794-cbadcbcd0821.html

        • Julian says:

          Dain,
          I said it on a blog long ago that no black-market creating-prohibition is good for society… not even outlawing or prohibiting prostitution. Some human decisions must be treated as health issues, not criminal justice problems. So we should “tax that pussy.” Never thought I’d be talking about cowardly cops… While NORML advocates restoring the integrity between the community and good law enforcement (hence, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership); A tax on pussy-@$$ cops! Put THAT in your tax bill Drumph!

          • Julian says:

            Lol… one too many michelados on that post! I need to remember to explain myself a little better in writing. I apologize if I came off vulgar.
            I stand by my point… any prohibition creates black markets. And unregulated public prostitution treats humans as commodities and leaves a black market for pimps and sex traffickers to abuse runnaways or even kidnapped young people all over the world. Worse, cops become abusers whether intentional or not, either through direct extortion of the victims by bad cops breaking the law or by arresting the victims instead of the traffickers by good cops doing their bad jobs due to bad laws. By fairly taxing and regulating prostitution we can reduce the blackmarket and provide family health services to treat the problems at their source as a health issue.

            The same goes for all drugs. At the core of the prohibition of any economic exchange involving sex or drugs is creating the illusion that law enforcement can solve domestic health problems, when all prohibition does is make criminal cartels rich. There are even parallels to hiring more prisons and border patrol to manage immigration when we need court appointed immigration lawyers to identify and represent drug war refugees.

            Marijuana legalization is revealing how prohibition of all kinds damages our society.

        • Dain Bramage says:

          Look at the expressions on the faces of the cops. Now look at the expression on the face of the K9 Unit: the dog. Are they not very similar?

          All on “stay.” All waiting for their “treat.” All of them are sure they have bagged some marijuana; none of them have a goddamn clue as to why.

          The dog appears to me the most alert of the trio. The dog may be the only one in the room who understands that the cannabis does not represent a danger.

          • Julian says:

            That may very well be the case, Dain, at least in that moment. The addiction on part of drug busting law enforcement is the blinding adrenaline of being on the rewarded team. Reward for violence against nonviolent people only reinforces the need to believe “our side is right.”

            It’s only until a bust goes wrong for the cops… a partner gets shot or murdered for nothing more than legally manufactured violence over some nonviolent weed… that the illusion of justice gets pierced. Ask the Law Enforcement Action Partnership. Most law enforcement know damn well that marijuana consumers are not violent. And when given the choice to respond to a call over weed or PCP which one would we respond to first if WE were cops? Assuming we weren’t given a proper canneducation… but that’s the most deceiving assumption of all… that politicians and cops don’t know better… that we all dont know marijuana is safe. The greater deception is we all dont know prosecutors work closely with law enforcement and city councils to make predatory cases in favor of prohibition and unjust court fees keeping innocent Americans in perpetual poverty and disproportionate incarceration.

            NORML is about restoring integrity and confidence between law enforcement and communities.

            (Granted, you may not have guessed that from my previous posts; we still have a long way to go). We need to tell our politicians that often and let them know WE have the power to change the system. If communities and law enforcement work together we can identify violent criminals in and out of law enforcement, rescue kidnapped teenagers, and allow nurse practitioners to help prevent escalation of police response to mental health crisis, on site.

            But none of this happens without vetting our elected Sherrifs, DA’s and Representatives during elections to reform the law.

    4. Matt says:

      I know this is from a conservative radio host, but this is very troubling when we think about the Cole Memo and the RB Amendment….

      Sessions and the DOJ on fines for poor defendents, other Obama-era motions….

      Is marijuana next?

      Here he goes again….circling the waters….troubling…and a wrong, backwards approach toward criminal justice reforms….

      http://www.marklevinshow.com/news/justice-department-rolls-back-guidance-on-fining-poor-defendants/

      and, a I thought, another article on this from an outstanding website, CommondreamsL

      https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/22/horrifying-step-backwards-sessions-retracts-guidance-designed-end-abuse-poor-courts

      Very sad, and an outrage.

    5. Miles says:

      Haha!!! Extending these protections is like giving Attorney General Sessions a piece of coal for Christmas 🙂

      If he wants to start busting millions of cannabis using Americans he’ll just have to keep waiting…

    6. TheOracle says:

      These politicians are still woefully uneducated about cannabis.

      Just look at this shit. This snippet below out of a Lancaster, Pennsylvania, newspaper (LNP)quotes the county’s district attorney still spouting off the usual prohibitionist talking points: gateway theory, stronger not your father’s marijuana is not the same drug, causes brain damage and reduced IQ.

      Snippet:
      Although more attention is given to drugs such as heroin and cocaine, Stedman said marijuana is still on the radar.

      “Obviously, marijuana is not as deadly or dangerous as fentanyl,” he said. However, he said it is a gateway drug for people seeking a bigger high.

      “It’s frustrating to me to hear ‘it’s just marijuana,’ ” Stedman said.

      Marijuana today is not the same drug that was used in the 1960s and ’70s, he added — levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are twice as high in the drug now.

      It has been medically proven to cause permanent brain damage and decrease IQ, Stedman said. Annually, he said, police in Lancaster County make more than 600 DUI arrests involving marijuana.
      End of snippet.

      http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/man-charged-in-one-of-the-most-significant-marijuana-seizures/article_c582a9b4-e684-11e7-a3c3-07376f601021.html

      • Julian says:

        “Uneducated”? Or purchased for propaganda? I wonder if it is we who are being naive believing these politicians don’t know marijuana is safe and beneficial? The tie$ to Big Pharma and hostile beurocracies are all too clear now to give any benefit of doubt that these are willfull, predatory lies.

      • Julian says:

        “Uneducated”? Or consciously miseducated? Or purchased for propaganda? I wonder if it is we who are being naive believing these politicians really don’t know marijuana is safe and beneficial? The tie$ to Big Pharma and hostile beurocracies are all too clear now to give any benefit of the doubt that these old gateway theories are willfull, predatory lies.

        Hell, the science out now shows marijuana is a gateway OUT of opioid addiction. And this administration just goes running face first through the hemp fields like the truth doesn’t exist.

        I do believe we have to provide politicians the knowledge, the votes and the will that we can reform the laws for good. We have to pierce that corporate bubble and kindly but firmly remind our reps who they work for. But while we educate them lets take a peak at whose funding them too. Put that on the NORML scorecard with little green or red flags… Donations from DPA or MPP? Green flag. Insys Therapeutics or CVS? Red flag.

    7. Ben says:

      Greetings.

      I am uncertain, but I hope
      that POTUS specified that amount of time
      to allow Cali to get started-
      Cali is… well, Cali.

      And as such, a month should be enough time
      to gauge how it really goes for legal cannibus sprung upon one of the… oft more excitable regions.

      And, Trump is likely at least hearing of the BILLIONS that Cali expects to transact.

      Thusly, I am hopnig Trump goes for the GREEN$
      and antes up when Cali’s sky doesn’t fall early Jan.

      Here’s to hope for a Happy New Year.

      420.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        @ Ben,
        It’s reasonable to wish Trump would do the right thing, but it is foolish to hope for it. There is no hope on that matter.

        Trump will always be an evil man, doing evil things, until the day his sick and blackened heart finally stops beating in protest. Surely you can see this for yourself, by now?

        Fuck Trump. There is only The Resistance!

    8. Julian says:

      Now that the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment expiration has been kicked to the 17th of January, giving California a chance to get some lagging mj dispensaries opened in LA to rake in some law-shaping revenue, lets focus on the Republicans responsible for allowing this to happen and those responsible for renewing it.

      https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/12/24/us/democrats-house-control-2018-midterms.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

      Pete Sessions, the House Rules Committee Chair who blocked the renewal vote on the R&B amendment as per AG Jeff Sessions request has 10 Democratic challengers in his district for 2018 midterms. To put that into perspective, Rep. Sessions R-TX had no Democratic challengers during the 2016 elections where Hillary won his district by 3 percentage points.

      Here’s an idea: DFW NORML and Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy team up to air an ad through local media that highlights Pete Sessions’ decision to block the R&B amendment? Mention how a Dallas mmj dispensary intended to help severe epileptics like local resident Alexis Bortell who has been forced to take refuge in Colorado for treatment?

      Perhaps then we can influence the House Ways and Means Committee to renew the amendment? Maybe even run some ads in Rep. Brady’s district as well?

    9. Clem Clark says:

      Every single Vet that ever served this country should be backing their fellow brothers and sisters for the right to legally use medical marijuana, our veterans administration included. We serve our country to protect our freedoms, not to be told by those who have not made that sacrifice that we have not earned that freedom.

    10. steve says:

      feds are bragging they will stop and frisk at random check points set up to stop illegals. will this law protect state residents their abuse and interferencee
      with state law.

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