Yesterday the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a rider amendment via a voice vote that effectively blocks the Department of Justice and Attorney Jeff Sessions from using any funds to undermine state medical cannabis laws, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.
Attorney Jeff Sessions indicated on Wednesday that he has been implementing recommendations from a task force that links medical cannabis with violent crime. Subsequently, a report is expected today from the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.
The amendment was led by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s vote included 16 Republicans, making medical cannabis a current bipartisan issue.
“The Senate is sending a clear message to Jeff Sessions—keep your hands off states that have reformed their marijuana laws,” stated Michael Collins, Deputy Director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “Today’s vote is a huge win for the marijuana reform movement, because in the face of real pressure from the Department of Justice, the Senate has opted to block Jeff Sessions from interfering with any medical marijuana law.”
Twenty-nine states have implemented medical cannabis laws that would be affected by a crackdown.
The Rohrbacher-Blumenauer amendment, also known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, has been litigated in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The amendment has yet to make the final appropriations bill. The amendment prevents the Department of Justice from prosecuting individuals who follow state medical cannabis laws. The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment was enacted in 2014 and has been renewed each year since then.
Jeff Sessions has also indicated that he will crack down on sanctuary cities in a separate statement. The recent effort from the Senate Appropriations Committee indicates that the active Senate is not on the same page as Jeff Session on issues such as medical cannabis.