In a familiar move to anyone who’s followed politics in the last year, local authorities are working to block a federal action from the Trump administration. Specifically, California Rep. Barbara Lee introduced a US House bill on Friday that would essentially block the feds from messing with state-licensed cannabis activity.
The Cole memo issued under Obama had provided protections for state-compliant marijuana companies until recently, when US Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrew the Cole memo, meaning that those businesses were now left vulnerable to possible interference from the likes of the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Lee’s bill would shield state-licensed cannabis businesses from “excessive federal enforcement,” according to a report from Marijuana Moment. The bill would bar agencies from using federal money to “detain, prosecute, sentence, or initiate civil proceedings against an individual, business or property, that is involved in the cultivation, distribution, possession, dispensation, or use of cannabis” if that business is compliant with state and local laws.
Lee’s new bill even has a catchy, kind of punny title: The REFER (Restraining Excessive Federal Enforcement & Regulations of Cannabis) Act, which hopefully will make other lawmakers remember it and not make them think it sounds too silly.
REFER is kind of like a bigger version of the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer act, an Oregon law that curbs federal agents in interfering in state-legal medical marijuana business. Oregon lawmakers are currently in the process of renewing the act.
Meanwhile, California isn’t satisfied with only protecting medical marijuana, are with only protecting plants inside their state borders. They want to protect all legal cannabis in the US.
“It is time we expand the protections of Rohrabacher-Farr [what Rohrabacher–Blumenauer used to be called] to ensure that no government agency targets marijuana companies and their partners in ancillary businesses,” Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) told Marijuana Moment. “Taxpayer dollars should not be used to crackdown on law-abiding taxpayers operating legally in states.”
Photo via Flickr user Bob Doran