The House Committee on Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) approved by voice vote last week a measure renewing protections for state medical cannabis programs when the current spending budget expires in September.
The approval prevents the Department of Justice from using any resources to target medical cannabis patients or providers who comply with state laws.
“With 9-in-10 Americans supporting medical cannabis, it’s great to see that protecting legal providers has finally become a non-issue in Congress,” Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said. “Now, it’s time for Congress to expand these protections by preventing federal overreach in all state cannabis laws, including those that allow responsible adult use and have successfully replaced criminal markets with thriving, regulated industries.”
Cannabis is legal for adults in nine states and the District of Columbia while 46 states have legalized some form of medical marijuana.
A Quinnipiac University poll released last month showed 93 percent of voters support legal access to medical cannabis and 70 percent oppose enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have approved cannabis for medical or adult use.
Lawmakers said the effort represents the first time the language has been included in the spending bill by the House Appropriations Committee, noting it was initially added to the federal budget in 2014.