The bill extends the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, initially passed in 2014, to January 19th. The amendment prohibits the Department of Justice – which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – from using funds to enforce federal cannabis laws in states that have legalized the plant for medical use. Trump signed the bill shortly after it was passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives.
“Patients around the country who rely on medical marijuana for treatment—and the businesses that serve them—now have some measure of certainty”, Representative Blumenauer, co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, said after the measure was passed by Congress. “Our fight, however, continues to maintain these important protections in the next funding bill passed by Congress.”
The bill signed into law by Trump also extends protections for state laws that allow hemp to be cultivated for research purposes.
The post President Trump Signs Bill Temporarily Extending Medical Cannabis Protections appeared first on TheJointBlog.
California’s unlicensed medical marijuana providers are bracing for the end of the critical SB 420 collective defense in less than a year. Ironically, the end appears to be dated one year from the opening of this year’s hugely successful Emerald Cup. “The Bureau of Cannabis Control website includes an announcement, posted December 14, 2017, that […]
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Congressional 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.
There is widespread anticipation among marijuana policy watchers that 2018 could finally be the year that states begin legalizing cannabis by acts of lawmakers.
All eight states that have ended marijuana prohibition to date have been directed to do so by voters at the ballot box.
But not all states allow for ballot initiatives, and so at some point the fight to legalize cannabis will shift in earnest to legislative chambers, just as lawmakers began taking medical marijuana reform into their own hands after the first wave of voter-enacted laws in the 1990s demonstrated the popularity of the issue.
There are growing indications that the shift for recreational legalization is happening now.
In Vermont, House and Senate leaders and Gov. Phil Scott (R) have signaled in recent weeks that they are prepared to legalize marijuana very soon after the legislature reconvenes on January 3. Because the state operates on a biennium, all that is needed is one more House vote in favor of a previously-Senate-passed bill that the governor has pledged to sign.
New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy (D) campaigned on legalization, and the Senate president says he’s ready to pass a bill in 2018.
While many observers of cannabis policy are already aware the the Green Mountain State and Garden State are vying to be the first to legalize marijuana legislatively, lawmakers in other states are already making moves to prepare for anti-prohibition efforts in 2018.
On Thursday, a New Mexico senator prefiled a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis.
Also on Thursday, New York lawmakers announced that three Assembly committees will hold a joint hearing on marijuana legalization in January.
In New Hampshire, an early January floor vote could breathe new life into a marijuana legalization bill that was voted down in committee this year.
These examples are just the earliest indications of what could be the busiest year on record for state cannabis lobbying efforts.
In 2017, Marijuana Moment tracked 59 separate marijuana legalization bills in state legislative chambers. (Overall, we tracked more than 300 marijuana bills ranging from penalty reforms to medical cannabis to licensing tweaks to nonbinding resolutions calling for federal action, and more.)
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Legislatures aside, five or more states could vote on marijuana legalization or medical cannabis ballot initiatives in 2018.
The post State Lawmakers Already Filing Marijuana Bills For 2018 appeared first on Marijuana Moment.
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NY legalization hearing scheduled for Jan.; Congress extends state protection deadline; Former CA AG starts marijuana businesses
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW
Congress approved a short-term extension of federal funding levels — and policy riders like state medical cannabis protections — through January 19. It still hasn’t been determined whether the marijuana provision will be included in full Fiscal Year 2018 legislation. President Trump is expected to sign the continuing resolution on Friday, along with separate tax reform legislation.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded 25 previous federal guidance documents. Not among them is the Cole Memo, which lays out guidelines for states to avoid federal interference with their marijuana laws.
Three New York Assembly committees will hold a joint hearing on marijuana legalization on January 11.
Rolling Stone spoke to a number of members of Congress about federal drug policy reform in 2017 and 2018:
- Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD): “If you look at medical marijuana, it’s still in a grey zone about on whether or not there’s going to be very strict enforcement. I think this Department of Justice is not going to take it lightly, when states have recreational use of marijuana legalized.”
- Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA): “I don’t think they have actually established their marijuana policy yet. I think the president needs to pay personal attention to it, because he made commitments during the election that he would support the legalizing medical marijuana, it should be left to the states, to legalize it that way as well as personal use, adult use…. It’s a total waste of money. The states – the people across this country – are voting for it, and for [Sessions] to think that he can superimpose his control over what adults will consume is contrary to our Constitution and a violation of individual freedom.”
- Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR): “This next year there will be more expressions of that support as it builds around the country – more markets open up and more and more people take a stand in support of it. I mean, the train’s left the station.”
A bipartisan group of 17 members of Congress wrote a letter to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb pushing back on the agency’s threats on kratom. In a related press release, Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) said, “Like cannabis, it should be legal and available.”
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) decried congressional interference in Washington, DC’s marijuana laws in a House floor speech.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions created a new Department of Justice Director of Opioid Enforcement and Prevention Efforts role.
ProPublica looks at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s role in keeping silent the reasons for kidnappings conducted by a Mexican drug cartel.
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana is, at its core, about criminal justice reform. It’s about ending the failed war on drugs and fixing a broken system that has disproportionately affected low-income and minority communities.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) appears in an ad touting the state’s program to drug test food stamp recipients.
Massachusetts regulators unanimously voted to approve draft marijuana legalization implementation rules.
A Missouri representative prefiled a marijuana legalization bill.
The Associated Press looks at how people in legalized states are taking advantage of marijuana gifting provisions in laws during the holiday season.
Los Angeles County, California health officials will conduct inspections of marijuana businesses.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia successfully pressured a Georgia sheriff over his deleting marijuana comments from his Facebook page.
Cannabis Wire noticed that Marijuana Policy Project Founder Rob Kampia is no longer listed as a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s Advisory Council.
/ SCIENCE & HEALTH
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 63,600 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2016, the highest annual toll on record. More than 42,200 were linked to opioids.
A study of medical cannabis dispensaries in Colorado and Washington found that those in areas of that voted against recreational legalization ballot measures subsequently “accentuated the medical orientation of their identities,” whereas there was a “blurring of medical/recreational identity in communities where voters demonstrated support for recreational-use legalization in the state-level ballot.”
A study suggested that “cannabis use relates to reduced neural activity underlying attention to motion stimuli.”
/ OPINION & ANALYSIS
The Los Angeles Times editorial board wants California and federal officials to solve the marijuana industry’s banking access issues.
Former California Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) co-founded a marijuana concentrates and edibles company.
Jack In The Box and Merry Jane are partnering on a “Merry Munchie Meal” to celebrate California’s legalization of marijuana.
Country musician Michael Ray was arrested for possession of cannabis oil.
The post Sessions rescinds old guidance — Cole memo safe for now (Newsletter (Dec. 22, 2017) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.