Medical cannabis: New US budget continues ban on federal enforcement

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Medical cannabis: New US budget continues ban on federal enforcement

U.S. Capitol Building, Washington D.C.

Good news for medical cannabis patients! As reported in Marijuana Business Daily, the United States Congress took a favorable stance on the MMJ industry by passing a $1.1 trillion budget that includes a provision that prohibits the Department of Justice from using budget money to undermine state medical marijuana programs and bringing enforcement actions against state-licensed businesses and patients.

That prohibition, previously called the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, has been in place since 2014. Since then, Congress has extended the MMJ amendment several times – including just last week, when it granted an extension of seven days, until May 5. The new extension – which is expected to be formally approved this week – expires Sept. 30, the expiration date for the spending deal.

Although this was a positive sign for the MMJ industry given the Trump Administration’s waffling positions and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ anti-marijuana rhetoric, things are still uncertain for the recreational cannabis market, which is not included in the DOJ’s prohibition.  In addition, Congress will revisit this issue at the end of September, and time will tell if the pro-MMJ position will be challenged.  But the longer the MMJ industry is allowed to flourish, it will be more difficult to undo legally enacted, entreched state programs.


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