The New Federal Budget Protects Medical MarijuanaRichard Kestenbaum
I cover retail, fashion, consumer behavior and consumer products.
In the appropriations law expected to be passed by congress this week, there are a number of hidden features that didn't get a lot of attention. The bill passed this week commits to spending over more than $1 trillion. When such a massive bill passes, it's inevitable that there are features and commitments that most people aren't aware of at the time.
Why Is Marijuana Addressed In The Bill?
Attorney General Jeff Sessions previously indicated that he will enforce federal marijuana laws. He told radio host Hugh Hewitt on March 2, 2017, that 'marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repeated their own anti-marijuana laws.. [a]nd I'm not in favor of legalization of marijuana. I think it's a more dangerous drug than a lot of people realize.'
What Does The New Law Say?
One feature in the current bill is aimed right at the cannabis industry. The language blocks the Department of Justice from spending money to prevent states from "implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana." That means that neither President Trump nor Attorney General Jeff Sessions can use the Federal government's resources to enforce federal law to prevent the expansion of medical marijuana. It doesn't apply to recreational marijuana where the Department of Justice can prosecute whoever it wants. But it addresses the expansion of legalized cannabis by protecting one important facet of it from prosecution of any kind in states where it's legal. The bill makes it easy to see how changing attitudes are allowing the expansion of the cannabis industry. It's also easy to foresee how in the future, if enough people want it, a provision will be made to prevent the federal government from prosecuting anyone in the cannabis industry, including recreational users, in states where it's legal.