Senate Panel Approves a Bill Protecting Medical Marijuana
On Thursday, June 14, 2018, the US Senate Appropriations Committee approved language that protects medical marijuana operations.
The language which is a part of the Senate commerce, justice and science appropriations bill will block the Justice Department from targeting users or providers of medical marijuana in states where it is legalized.
A similar measure passed in the House’s version of the bill, which was also passed in committee.
What Do Providers in the Cannabis Industry Think?
Aaron Smith, the executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, states,” Once again, members of Congress have signaled that protecting state-legal medical cannabis is no longer a controversial issue.”
Quinnipiac University released data from a poll conducted in April of 2018 which showed 93 percent of voters supported medical marijuana, while only 5 percent of people were against it.
Similar provisions have been enacted since 2014, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been an unyielding force in efforts to legalize marijuana.
The Future of Medical Marijuana
In January of 2018, Sessions rolled back an Obama-era law that had provided states with more freedom in determining the extent of legal use.
Last month, the House Appropriations Committee adopted the medical marijuana protections via a voice vote. Due to the language being in both chambers, it is probably going to wind up in the final Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill sent to President Trump later in 2018.
If the language passes, it protects the people complying with state medical marijuana laws from federal harassment until at least September 2019.
Last week, the Senate appropriations panel passed an amendment to approve military veterans to receive medical marijuana through their US Department of Veterans Affairs physician.
With time and more legislation, it’s the hope of medical marijuana dispensaries and physicians that federal laws will loosen, and it will become legal in all states and available to the people who need it most.