Senate Debt Deal Saves State Medical Marijuana Protections For Now

   

The cannabis community was rocked when the Republican-led House Rules Committee nonsensically prohibited a vote on the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, and a whole host of other positive cannabis law reform measures. The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, sponsored by Republican Dana Rohrabacher and Democrat Earl Blumenauer, protects state-legal medical marijuana patients and providers from federal prosecution.

Blocking a vote on Rohrabacher-Blumenauer was especially egregious as the amendment had passed with growing bipartisan support for four years in a row and a supermajority of American voters support medical cannabis and the right of states to implement their own cannabis laws. However thankfully, we now have a three-month reprieve under a debt and disaster relief bill first passed by the Senate. The House then followed suit and passed the debt deal as well.

While the cannabis community was shocked to see state medical marijuana programs potentially threatened by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department, politicos, particularly GOP congressional leaders, were stunned to hear that Donald Trump had agreed to a debt relief bill with the Democrats. The deal, now passed by both chambers of Congress, pushes another huge budget bill vote back to December.

All political wrangling and partisanship aside, the debt deal is good news for the cannabis community, as the deal includes the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment. We now have three months to organize and mobilize to ensure that the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment gets the vote it deserves.

A handful of Republican members on the House Rules Committee should not be able to override the will of tens of millions of voters who overwhelmingly support medical cannabis. It will be imperative that the cannabis community remain vigilant and make our voices heard in the Halls of Congress loud and clear.

Congressmen Rohrabacher and Blumenauer have both spoken at the International Cannabis Business Conference multiple times. The ICBC is the cannabis event to learn the latest regarding cannabis business, politics and activism. The next ICBC, in beautiful Kauai, Hawaii, on December 1st thru the 3rd, will be a great opportunity to learn about the latest policy developments and how the cannabis community can organize effectively to ensure that the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment is passed so we can continue protecting medical cannabis patients and their providers from federal prosecution. 

 

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.