Congressional lawmakers have again included protections for states with medical marijuana programs—as well as several other cannabis-related provisions—in new spending legislation for Fiscal Year 2022.
But while advocates are encouraged by the inclusion of the marijuana riders, which also includes language to prevent the penalization of universities that conduct cannabis research, they’re holding out hope that a broader provision is added later in the process to keep the Department of Justice from using its funds to interfere in the implementation of any state-level legalization law—including those that allow recreational use.
There are two key House Appropriations bills that include language on marijuana issues that were approved in subcommittee on Monday, and the full panel is set to take those measures up on Thursday.
The most consequential measure, which has been added to spending legislation and enacted in federal law going back to 2014, would prevent the Justice Department from using tax dollars to intervene in the implementation of medical cannabis programs in states:
“SEC. 531. None of the funds made available under this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
It remains to be seen whether lawmakers