In a recent budget draft, President Trump proposed ending the policy that protects medical cannabis programs in states where it is legal. These protections prevent the Justice Department from interfering with state’s rights. The President’s proposal also calls for establishing blocks on creating an adult-use cannabis marketplace in Washington, D.C. Currently, possessing and cultivating cannabis in D.C. is legal.
These protections were passed by Congress in 2014 and have been renewed every year since then. This current proposal is the third time the Trump administration has called for the removal of these safeguards for medical cannabis business. However, Congress has ignored these requests and renewed the protections in spending bills.
The budget proposal also would cut funding for the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) from $425 million to just $29 million, according to a report from Marijuana Moment. Instead, the funding would go to the DEA to, “improve coordination of drug enforcement efforts among Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies in the U.S.”
Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) called Trump’s proposal “an attack on 8 years of progress at all levels.”
“I will continue to lead the effort to protect state-legal medical cannabis programs and seek to get new protections for adult-use and tribal programs. These are critical as we continue our fight to reform hopelessly outdated federal cannabis policies,” said Blumenauer.
Former President Barack Obama also called for the removal of these protections as well. In 2012, Rolling Stone said that Obama was waging a ‘War on Pot’ and executives at the Marijuana Policy Project called Obama “the worst president on medical marijuana.”
Blumenauer says that he and other lawmakers will likely ignore that particular section of President Trump’s proposal, according to Marijuana Moment.
As a candidate running for president in 2016, Trump claimed he supported medical cannabis and believed that states had the right to decide whether the plant medicine should be permitted.
While it is a good sign that lawmakers have ignored the call to remove these state protections found in every budget proposal, it again outlines how the federal government does not reflect the views that the majority of the American people share about medical marijuana. In 2019, two-thirds of Americans polled said they favored the full legalization of cannabis.