For the past several months, a law protecting legalized medical marijuana states has been held in limbo by Congress. But that limbo has ended, and it’s good news for cannabis advocates.
Congress voted to extend the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment for two years as part of the new spending agreement. The amendment says the federal government cannot use any resources to prosecute cases against medical marijuana businesses in states where it is legal. The amendment was set to expire originally last May before getting a temporary extension until September, followed by further temporary extensions in December and January. This new vote ensures the law will be in place for at least another two years.
Many members of Congress from both parties have advocated for extending the amendment long-term in recent months. However, Republicans have refused to allow a vote on the amendment independent of a new spending bill. The new agreement allows medical marijuana businesses to not have to worry that their protections may go away because Republicans don’t feel like playing ball.
It should be noted that the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment only applies to medical marijuana businesses. The Department of Justice had a separate policy, known as the Cole Memo, that allowed states to operate with legal recreational marijuana as long as they followed certain guidelines. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo last month, meaning it doesn’t have the same protections in place as the medical marijuana industry.
But at least it’s good that the saga involving this amendment is finally over. Now we can move to get those protections in place for the recreational industry as well!