Congress Passes Spending Bill Continuing Protections for State Medical Marijuana Programs

The Justice Department will continue to be prohibited from interfering in state medical marijuana laws under the federal spending bill passed Thursday in the Senate. The bill has already passed the House, and President Trump has said he will sign it.

The legislation includes a provision that is intended to prevent the department, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, from using funds to arrest or prosecute patients, caregivers, and businesses that are acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws.

The provision stems from…

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The ‘Respect State Marijuana Laws Act’ Reintroduced In Congress

WASHINGTON, DC — United States Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with six other Republicans and six Democrats, has reintroduced bipartisan legislation, ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ to prevent the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals and/or businesses who are engaging in state-sanctioned activities specific to the possession, use, production, and distribution of marijuana.

House Resolution 975 amends the federal Controlled Substances Act…

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Leading Reform Organizations Applaud Formation of Congressional Cannabis Caucus

WASHINGTON, DC — The nation’s leading cannabis and drug policy reform organizations commended Congressional members Thursday on the formation of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) formed the Congressional Cannabis Caucus to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.

They represent constituents…

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In the Time of Trump, Can Congress Take the Lead on Marijuana Policy?

While the marijuana community — consumers, industry, and advocates alike — eyes with trepidation the reign of avowed anti-pot Republican Jeff Sessions at the Justice Department, the Trump executive branch isn’t the only game in town when it comes to making marijuana policy. Congress is back in session, and after last November’s legalization and medical marijuana victories at the polls, the pot state delegation is larger than ever.

And at least some of those senators and…

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So We Have Attorney General Sessions. Whats Next For Marijuana?

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech hosted by Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (WikiMedia Commons/Gage Skidmore)

Despite historic opposition, members of the United States Senate voted 52 to 47 last week to approve the nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for US Attorney General.

While we are disappointed with this outcome, we are pleased that several members of Congress cited the…

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GOP Congressman Introduces ‘Respect State Marijuana Laws Act’

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday that would resolve the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws and allow states to determine their own marijuana policies.

The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act exempts individuals and entities from certain provisions of the Controlled Substances Act if they are acting in compliance with state marijuana laws. This is the third time Rohrabacher has introduced the bill. Twenty of his…

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GOP Rep Introduces “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act” to US Congress

WASHINGTON, DC — Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday that would resolve the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws and allow states to determine their own marijuana policies.

The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act exempts individuals and entities from certain provisions of the Controlled Substances Act if they are acting in compliance with state marijuana laws. This is…

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Week in Review: Canada’s cannabis guidelines, Ohio’s dispensary rules & MJ’s big week in DC

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By Bart Schaneman and Omar Sacirbey

A task force makes recommendations on how the Canadian government should approach legalizing recreational marijuana, Ohio writes draft rules for MMJ dispensaries, and cannabis has a big week in Washington DC.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Small or big? 

Will Canada’s new adult-use marijuana market be open to small businesses – or dominated by big corporations?

Jodie Emery, a political activist and owner of Cannabis Culture, a magazine…

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US Senate Panel Votes to Protect State Medical Marijuana Laws

US Senate Panel Votes to Protect State Medical Marijuana Laws

WASHINGTON, DC — Thursday morning, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the FY2017 Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies Appropriations Act (CJS) to protect medical cannabis patients.

The amendment, sponsored by Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), prohibits the Depart of Justice from spending funds to interfere with state medical cannabis programs and was approved with strong bipartisan support, 21-8.

Last year, the committee approved a nearly identical amendment from Mikulski, with the only change being

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Senate Appropriations Committee Votes to Prevent DEA from Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws

Senate Appropriations Committee Votes to Prevent DEA from Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws

Vote Comes Just a Week After Committee Voted to Allow Veterans Administration Doctors to Recommend Marijuana to Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC — In yet another huge victory for marijuana reform, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 21 to 8 on Thursday to approve an amendment offered by Senator Mikulski (D-MD) to protect state medical marijuana laws from federal interference by the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Marijuana reforms are repeatedly winning votes in Congress,” said Bill Piper, Senior Director of…

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Will the VA Let Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana to Veterans?

Will the VA Let Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana to Veterans?

Last week, a group of 21 US senators and representatives sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs calling on it to allow VA doctors to discuss and recommend marijuana as medicine in states where it is legal.

The bipartisan effort was led by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dina Titus (D-NY), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). All represent medical marijuana states.

Under current VA policy, embodied in VHA Directive 2011-004, which expires Sunday, VA doctors…

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Congress Members Urge VA to Change Medical Marijuana Policy

In a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald released Wednesday, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senate and House members urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow VA doctors to write medical marijuana recommendations to veterans in accordance with state laws.

The letter comes four days before the expiration of a directive that prohibits VA doctors from recommending medical marijuana, even in states that have made it legal.

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

The Congressional members, led by Kirsten Gillibrand…

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Members of Congress Urge VA to Stop Banning Docs from Recommending Medical Marijuana

Members of Congress Urge VA to Stop Banning Docs from Recommending Medical Marijuana

Congressional Members Urge Department of Veterans Affairs to End Its Policy of Prohibiting VA Physicians From Recommending Medical Marijuana to Qualifying Patients in States Where It Is Legal

WASHINGTON, DC — In a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald released Wednesday, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senate and House members urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow VA doctors to write medical marijuana recommendations to veterans in accordance with state laws.

The letter comes four days before the expiration of a…

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Bi-Partisan Congressmen Team Up for Marijuana Legalization

Bi-Partisan Congressmen Team Up for Marijuana Legalization

WASHINGTON, DC — Two U.S. congressmen — a conservative Republican and a progressive Democrat — are teaming up in California to advocate marijuana legalization.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) will share the stage at the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco Feb. 13-14.

Rohrabacher will discuss his battle to stop the federal government continuing to shut down California dispensaries.

“I co-authored the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment to stop overzealous federal weed warriors from raiding…

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Bipartisan Group of Congressmen Call for VA to Allow Vets Access to Medical Marijuana

Bipartisan Group of Congressmen Call for VA to Allow Vets Access to Medical Marijuana

Current Policy Preventing VA Doctors from Recommending Medical Marijuana Set to Expire; Push Comes Amid Broad Bipartisan Support for Medical Marijuana in House and Senate

WASHINGTON, DC — On Wednesday, a broad group of legislators from both parties sent a letter to the Veterans’ Administration (VA) demanding a change in policy to allow veterans to access medical marijuana.

Currently, veterans are prevented from having full conversations about medical marijuana with VA doctors, and the same VA physicians are prohibited from recommending…

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Bipartisan Congressional Group Asks VA to Allow Physicians to Recommend Cannabis to Veterans

Bipartisan Congressional Group Asks VA to Allow Physicians to Recommend Cannabis to Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC — A bipartisan group of 21 members from both the U.S. House and Senate has sent a letter to the Veterans Administration urging them to revise their medical cannabis policy.

The current V.A. policy expires at the end of January. That policy prohibits their doctors from filling out state medical cannabis forms or even discussing the potential benefits of the therapeutic substance with their veteran patients. Veteran advocates for medical cannabis access have characterized the current policy as a “gag…

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Justice Department Will Continue to Be Prohibited From Interfering in State Medical Marijuana Laws Under New Spending Bill

The Justice Department will continue to be prohibited from interfering in state medical marijuana laws under the new federal spending bill unveiled late Tuesday night.

The compromise legislation includes a provision that is intended to prevent the department, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, from using funds to arrest or prosecute patients, caregivers, and businesses that are acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. It stems from an amendment sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)…

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Congress Adopts Significant Drug Policy Reforms in New Spending Bill

Congress Adopts Significant Drug Policy Reforms in New Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, DC — Congress approved a must-pass spending bill this week that includes language that stops the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice from spending money to block the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. The amendment was passed last year on a temporary basis and must be renewed this year.

“The renewal of this amendment should bring relief for medical marijuana patients and business owners,” said Michael Collins, Deputy Director of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “For decades Congress…

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Ban on Justice Deptartment Interference in State Medical Marijuana Laws to Continue

Ban on Justice Deptartment Interference in State Medical Marijuana Laws to Continue

Justice Department Will Continue to Be Prohibited From Interfering in State Medical Marijuana Laws Under New Spending Bill

The appropriations bill unveiled late Tuesday in Congress includes the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which is intended to prevent the DOJ and DEA from arresting or prosecuting patients, caregivers, and businesses that are acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws; the spending plan also renews the Harris Amendment, which prevents the District of Columbia from regulating marijuana for adult use

WASHINGTON, D.C….

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Congress Unveils 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill, Reauthorizes Marijuana Protections

Congress Unveils 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill, Reauthorizes Marijuana Protections

WASHINGTON, DC — Members of Congress on Wednesday unveiled the 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill, legislation that is responsible for funding the federal government through the 2016 fiscal year.  

While stand alone marijuana related bills rarely gain traction in Congress, the annual omnibus appropriations bill has become a tool for federal lawmakers to pass marijuana related language into annual spending guidelines.

In last week’s Legislative Round Up, we covered five distinct marijuana provisions that lawmakers sought to include in the…

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Mounting Pressure on DEA Head to Resign for Calling Medical Marijuana “A Joke”

ARLINGTON, VA — Medical marijuana patients and supporters gathered Friday at DEA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, to hand in more than 100,000 petition signatures demanding the resignation or firing of DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg after he called medical marijuana “a joke.”

The petition, which was started only two weeks ago, has more than doubled the number of signatures on an earlier petition that helped prompt the ouster of Rosenberg’s predecessor, former DEA head Michele Leonhart.

After walking from the nearby site of…

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Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment Prevents Feds from Continuing to Shut Down California Dispensary

Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment Prevents Feds from Continuing to Shut Down California Dispensary

Ruling Undermines Department of Justice Interpretation of Congressional Restrictions On Interference With State-Legal Medical Cannabis Programs

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer ruled that enforcement of the injunction against the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM), which has prevented the medical cannabis dispensary from engaging in business, must be consistent with the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment and therefore, was only enforceable against activity that is not allowed within state law.

The…

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Federal Court Ruling: Spending Limitation Approved in Congress Shields Medical Marijuana Patients and Providers Acting in Compliance With State Laws From Justice Dept. Actions

Federal Court Ruling: Spending Limitation Approved in Congress Shields Medical Marijuana Patients and Providers Acting in Compliance With State Laws From Justice Dept. Actions

DOJ officials had said they did not believe the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment would affect individual cases; the sponsors of the amendment disputed that claim in letters to the attorney general and a request for an inspector general investigation

WASHINGTON, DC — A federal judge ruled Monday that a budget amendment approved by Congress prevents the Department of Justice from taking action against medical marijuana patients and providers who are operating in compliance with state laws.

Northern District of California Judge Charles Breyer said…

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Federal Ruling Protects Medical Marijuana Dispensaries That Follow State Law

Federal Ruling Protects Medical Marijuana Dispensaries That Follow State Law

In Precedent-Setting Case, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer Rules Justice Department in Violation of Federal Law and Lifts Injunction Against Medical Marijuana Dispensary; Judge Cites Recent Congressional Reforms, as Support for Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Continues to Grow in Congress

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — On Monday, a federal judge lifted an injunction against one of California’s oldest medical marijuana dispensaries.  The injunction can no longer be enforced in the wake of a congressional spending amendment passed by…

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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Mikulski Medical Marijuana Amendment to CJS

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Mikulski Medical Marijuana Amendment to CJS

Senate Vote Reaffirms Congressional Support to End of Federal Interference In State-Level Medical Marijuana Programs

WASHINGTON, DC — On Thursday, the United States Senate Appropriations Committee voted to approve the Mikulski medical marijuana amendment to the Commerce, Science, and Justice (CJS) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2015 by a margin of 20-10.

Senator Barbara Mikulski ‘s (D-MD) amendment to the CJS appropriations bill mirrors the legislative language of the recently passed Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment to the House of Representative CJS bill.  The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment bans the Department of Justice from spending money to prevent the…

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Source: The Daily Chronic

Senate Committee Votes to Stop DEA from Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws

Amendment Expected to be Signed Into Law by Pres. Obama as Part of Spending Deal; Nationwide Bi-partisan Momentum for Drug Policy Reform Grows Stronger

“What we’re witnessing today are the death throes of the federal government’s war on medical marijuana,” said Michael Collins, Policy Manager at Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “Last week the House sent a resounding message to the DEA and DOJ – stop the interference and let states legalize medical marijuana. Today, the Senate echoed that message.”

After decades of inactivity on marijuana reform, the Senate has moved at lightening pace this year. In another vote today, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed by voice vote an amendment from Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) to protect state industrial hemp laws…

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Source: The Daily Chronic

Medical Marijuana Patients Applaud House Reauthorization of Rohrabacher-Farr CJS Amendment

Medical Marijuana Patients Applaud House Reauthorization of Rohrabacher-Farr CJS Amendment

House Vote Would Continue Prohibition on Federal Interference in State-Level Medical Marijuana Programs in 39 States

WASHINGTON, DC — The United States House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment to the Commerce, Science, and Justice (CJS) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2015 by a margin of 242 to 186.

The Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment bans the Department of Justice from spending money to prevent the implementation of state-level medical cannabis programs, removing funding…

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Source: The Daily Chronic

Congress Passes 3 Amendments to Stop DEA from Undermining State Marijuana Laws

Important Victories Build on Last Night’s Votes to End DEA’s Controversial Bulk Data Collection Program, Cut DEA’s Budget

“There’s unprecedented support on both sides of the aisle for ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states set their own drug policies based on science, compassion, health, and human rights,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “The more the DEA blocks sensible reforms the more they will see their agency’s power and budget come under deeper…

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House Members Reauthorize Measure Protecting State Sanctioned Medical Marijuana Programs

House Members Reauthorize Measure Protecting State Sanctioned Medical Marijuana Programs

WASHINGTON, DC — A majority of the US House of Representatives voted Wednesday to reauthorize legislation limiting the Justice Department’s ability to take criminal action against state-licensed individuals or operations that are acting are in full compliance with the medical marijuana laws of their states.

House members voted 242 to 186 in favor of the amendment, offered by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Reid Ribble (R-WI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Joe Heck (R-NV), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Don Young…

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Source: The Daily Chronic

Congress Votes to End DEA’s Bulk Data Collection Program; Slashes Agency’s Budget

Congress Votes to End DEA’s Bulk Data Collection Program; Slashes Agency’s Budget

Four Votes Today on Stopping DEA and Justice Department from Undermining State Marijuana Laws;  Votes Come in Wake of Recent Forced Resignation of DEA Head and Growing Public Pressure to End Drug War and Mass Incarceration

WASHINGTON, DC — Legislators voted by a simple voice vote Tuesday night to end the DEA’s controversial bulk data collection programs, as part of the U.S. House of Representatives’ consideration of the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill.

The House also passed three amendments that cut…

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US House Narrowly Defeats Amendment to Allow VA Docs to Discuss Medical Marijuana

US House Narrowly Defeats Amendment to Allow VA Docs to Discuss Medical Marijuana

WASHINGTON, DC — The United States House of Representatives voted 213-210 Thursday to defeat an amendment to allow doctors at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals to discuss the use of medical marijuana with their patients.

A total of 175 Democrats and 35 Republicans voted in favor of the amendment, and 205 Republicans and 8 Democrats voted against it.  A similar amendment narrowly failed on the House floor last year by a vote of 195 to 222.

The appropriations amendment to the first fiscal 2016 appropriations bill of the year, which…

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