Last week the US Senate Appropriations Committee voted to renew the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment when it expires September 30. That amendment, renewed annually since 2014, blocks the US Department of Justice from using federal funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws. The passage included 16 Republicans, showing this as a bipartisan issue in the Congress.
This early vote is important because US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked the Congress not to renew the amendment. Sessions also commissioned a task force on drugs and violent crime whose final report is expected soon. He says in the meantime he has been “on a rolling basis” implementing some of the as yet unrevealed recommendations. Many believe the task force will link cannabis to violent crime and push for stronger sentences for people who grow or sell marijuana.
It appears, however, that there remains strong bipartisan support in Congress to retain the restriction on federal spending for now, and that the amendment will be renewed as part of the final Congressional appropriations in September. Stay tuned.