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Congressional Lawmakers Seek To Build Support For Amendment To Protect All Marijuana States From Federal Interference

www.marijuanamoment.net July 22, 2021
Congressional Lawmakers Seek To Build Support For Amendment To Protect All Marijuana States From Federal Interference

A bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers is circulating a letter to build support for a spending bill amendment they’re introducing this week that would protect all state and tribal marijuana programs from federal interference—going beyond the existing measure that shields only medical cannabis states that’s currently enacted into law.

The amendment and its supporting Dear Colleague memo, which were shared with Marijuana Moment, is being led by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

The lawmakers explained that the proposed amendment to spending legislation would add “language preventing the Department of Justice from using any funds appropriated by Congress to enforce federal laws regarding activities that are legal under state, territorial, or tribal law with regard to marijuana, regardless of whether the marijuana laws are recreational or medicinal.”

This language has been proposed in past sessions as well, passing the House last year and in 2019. But it was not attached to final appropriations legislation sent to the president’s desk under GOP control of the Senate. Now that Democrats have a slim majority in the chamber, advocates are optimistic that it could finally be enacted.

As it stands, a spending bill rider has renewed each year since 2014 that offers the protection to states with medical cannabis programs. This amendment would expand that protection at a time when more and more states are opting to legalize marijuana for adult use. Four states—Connecticut, New Mexico, New York and Virginia—legalized for recreational purposes this year alone.

“To date, 48 states have enacted laws that, to varying degrees, relax their prohibitions against the use of marijuana or its components, such as CBD oil. Of those, 37 states have medical marijuana programs, and 18 of those have adult-use programs,” the lawmakers wrote to colleagues. “Most of these laws were decided by ballot initiatives. We believe that the federal government should not interfere with these programs and the will of the citizens of these states.”

Here’s the text of the proposed amendment: 

1 SEC _. None of the funds made available by this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, or the United States Virgin Islands, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana.

1 SEC __. None of the funds made available by this Act to the Department of Justice may be used to prevent any Indian tribe (as such term is defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5304)) from enacting or implementing tribal laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana.


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