Senate Panel Approves Bill Protecting Medical Cannabis

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The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved language that shields legal medical cannabis operations.

The language, which was part of the Senate commerce, justice and science appropriations bill, would block the Justice Department from targeting either users or providers of medical cannabis in states where the practice is legal.

A similar measure passed in the House’s version of the bill, which was also approved in committee.

“Once again, members of Congress have signaled that protecting state-legal medical cannabis is no longer a controversial issue,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association.

An April poll from Quinnipiac University found 93 percent of voters support medical marijuana, and only 5 percent oppose it.

Similar provisions have been in effect since 2014, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been a fierce critic of efforts to legalize marijuana.

In January, he rolled back an Obama-era policy that had given states more freedom in determining recreational use.