Since Jeff Sessions was made Attorney General, there have been several bills pertaining to medical marijuana introduced in Congress. One such bill is the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which seeks to be a permanent replacement for the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment that previously has been passed as a part of government spending bills. Both amendments aim to keep the Department of Justice from using their funds to prosecute medical marijuana cases in states who have chosen to legalize medical marijuana.
“The status quo for four years has been the federal government will not interfere because the Department of Justice is not permitted to use its resources to supercede a state that has legalized the medical use of marijuana,” Rohrabacher said.
Unfortunately, it appears that the bill will die in the House before ever making it out of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Rules, which has been hearing testimony and considering amendments. Representative Duncan Hunter of California told The Hill that after Rohrabacher “talked about it this morning in conference,” GOP leaders said, “it splits the conference too much so we’re not going to have a vote on it.”
Not surprisingly, both Representative Dana Rohrabacher and Representative Earl Blumenauer were not happy to find out that there wouldn’t even be consideration on the vote for this bill that is essential to protecting states’ rights.
“To deny (members of Congress) the right to have a vote, I think, is unconscionable,” Rohrabacher said. “It would be a tragic mistake to lose the progress that we made,” Blumenauer said before the committee.
There are many reasons that getting a piece of legislation protecting medical marijuana is important for Congress to pass soon. It would not only protect states’ rights, and patients’ rights, from prosecution at the hands of Sessions and the DOJ, but it would also open avenues for the federal government to work with state legal cannabis businesses when it comes to issues such as banking and taxes, which are issues that can cause harm to the industry and those working in it.
“Because criminals thought this was an all-cash business, they walked in and that young man named Travis Mason was shot dead,” Dennis Heck said. “This is a public safety issue.”
Though there are still bills floating around Congress that would help protect medical marijuana patients, industry workers and recommending healthcare professionals, the chances of passing one of the bills seems slim. The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer bill was only expected to make existing protections permanent – but the House is afraid to see where the vote will go, rather than giving the amendment a fair chance at passing.