Medical marijuana will stay protected awhile longer after a vote from the House Appropriation Committee. On Thursday the committee voted to add a new amendment to next year’s Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill which will block the Department of Justice from using funds to interfere in state laws concerning cannabis.
The bill addendum could have a major effect as Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrew the so-called “Cole Memo” earlier this year, a provision which had for years offered protections to state-legalized marijuana practices from federal agencies.
“This is just the latest sign that support for marijuana policy reform is growing in Congress, and we’re seeing that support on both sides of the aisle,” the Marijuana Policy Project’s conservative outreach director Don Murphy told KOMO News. “Republicans are joining with Democrats to protect compassionate state medical marijuana programs from federal interference.”
“Hopefully this is a sign that members of both parties are ready to take meaningful action on this subject and move our country toward a more sensible approach to marijuana policy – one that respects states’ rights and reduces wasteful spending while allowing seriously ill people to access medical marijuana if it will improve their quality of life.”
The bill now has to go on to the entire House for another vote. Meanwhile, some politicians may be gritting their teeth. Jeff Sessions, for one, and also Pete Sessions (no relation), a Texas Representative who blocked a similar amendment last year. Pete Sessions, by the way, is so hard line anti-cannabis that some of his pro-weed constituents have recently created a super PAC to try to toss him from his seat in this year’s midterm elections.
Photo via Flickr user Pierre-Sellim