The congressional spending bill that would fund the U.S. government through September includes the continuation of provisions to protect industrial hemp and state-based medical marijuana programs.
The $1 trillion omnibus bill, likely headed for a vote this week, includes an amendment previously known as “Rohrabacher-Farr” that prevents the Justice Department from using funds to hinder the implementation of medical marijuana laws in U.S. states and territories.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 also includes provisions that restrict the Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Justice from using federal funds to prohibit the transportation, processing and sale of industrial hemp as outlined in the 2014 Farm Bill.
The extension of the provisions was applauded by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, who has supported the medical marijuana amendment alongside Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California.
“Medical marijuana patients and the businesses that support them now have a measure of certainty,” Blumenauer said in a statement. “But this annual challenge must end. We need permanent protections for state-legal medical marijuana programs, as well as adult-use.”
If approved, the spending bill would provide funding through September, the end of the government’s fiscal year.
Lawmakers have started to mobilize to include a comparable provision–now called Rohrabacher-Blumenauer–for medical marijuana states in the 2018 fiscal year spending bill.
A similar amendment protecting state-based recreational marijuana laws was previously sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado. He recently told The Cannabist he will back the inclusion of the so-called McClintock-Polis amendment in the coming fiscal year’s spending bill.