Congressional Committee Approves Medical Cannabis Protections in Spending Bill
The House Committee on Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) approved a measure in a voice vote on May 17, that would renew protections for state medical cannabis programs when the current spending budget expires in September.
The amendment, which was introduced by Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), prevents the Department of Justice from using any resources to target medical cannabis patients or providers who are in compliance with state laws.
This is the first time that this language has been included in the spending bill by the House Appropriations Committee. Originally added to the federal budget in 2014, this restriction was consistently renewed as an amendment by the Senate Appropriations Committee or a continuing resolution in subsequent budgets, most recently in March. Current protections are set to expire on September 30 unless the new spending bill is approved or the current budget is extended.
“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,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “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.”