A bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers is circulating a letter to build support for a spending bill amendment they’re introducing this week that would protect all state and tribal marijuana programs from federal interference—going beyond the existing measure that shields only medical cannabis states that’s currently enacted into law.
The amendment and its supporting Dear Colleague memo, which were shared with Marijuana Moment, is being led by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).
The lawmakers explained that the proposed amendment to spending legislation would add “language preventing the Department of Justice from using any funds appropriated by Congress to enforce federal laws regarding activities that are legal under state, territorial, or tribal law with regard to marijuana, regardless of whether the marijuana laws are recreational or medicinal.”
This language has been proposed in past sessions as well, passing the House last year and in 2019. But it was not attached to final appropriations legislation sent to the president’s desk under GOP control of the Senate. Now that Democrats have a slim majority in the chamber, advocates are optimistic that it could finally be enacted.
As it stands, a spending bill rider has renewed each year since 2014 that offers the protection to states with medical cannabis programs. This amendment would expand that protection at a time when more and more states are opting to legalize marijuana for adult use. Four states—Connecticut, New Mexico, New York and Virginia—legalized for recreational purposes this year alone.
“To date, 48 states have enacted laws that, to varying degrees, relax their prohibitions against the use of marijuana or its components, such as CBD oil. Of those, 37 states have medical marijuana programs, and 18 of those have adult-use programs,” the lawmakers wrote to colleagues. “Most of