A powerful House committee on Thursday approved spending bills and related reports that touch on a wide range of marijuana and drug policy issues—including calls to remove roadblocks to research into cannabis, noting the lifesaving potential of safe consumption sites for illegal substances, recognizing the painkilling promise of the kratom plant and urging the development of technology to detect impairment from THC.
Importantly, the legislation that cleared the House Appropriations Committee would also maintain an existing provision that shields state medical marijuana laws from intervention by the Justice Department.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, thanked committee leadership on Thursday for “including important language that would prohibit the Department of Justice from interfering in access to medical marijuana in states, the District of Columbia and territories where it is legal.”
“This language is critical to ensuring that the federal government doesn’t preempt what states are doing,” she said.
Advocates are holding out hope that a broader provision is added later in the process to keep federal law enforcement agencies from using funds to interfere in the implementation of any state-level legalization law—including those that allow recreational use.
Meanwhile, the advancing legislation also includes language to prevent the penalization of universities that conduct cannabis research.
Reports attached to the two pieces of Fiscal Year 2022 legislation approved by the panel—the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations (CJS) bill and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LaborH) bill—contain a number of cannabis-related provisions.
Research, medical benefits and driving
The CJS report notes that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has moved to approve additional marijuana manufacturers for research purposes and says the committee supports ongoing research efforts on cannabis, particularly in the wake of an outbreak of lung injuries associated with