States that have legalized medical marijuana could soon get an unwanted visit from the DEA. Yesterday, Congress stunned the cannabis industry by rejecting the only legal protection preventing Attorney General Jeff “good people don’t smoke marijuana” Sessions from cracking down on those 30 states for violating federal cannabis prohibition.
Back in 2014, lawmakers passed an amendment to the federal budget to protect state-legalized medical marijuana industries and the patients they serve. The amendment prevented the DEA from spending a single penny on enforcing cannabis prohibition in those states. It didn’t overturn federal cannabis prohibition or legalize medical marijuana, but it did tie the Department of Justice’s hands by freezing their finances.
At the time, medical marijuana was legal in 21 states, a number that has grown to 30 since then. But they could all be shuttered soon because that amendment — which has to be renewed with every budget — was rejected yesterday by the House Rules Committee. That means the House can’t include the rider in their final version of the federal budget.
If the budget passes without that rider, budtenders, dispensary owners, doctors recommending cannabis and even medical marijuana patients could face prosecution for their involvement in the industry. And not just for what they’re doing right now. They could be charged with offences dating back to when they got involved in the state’s cannabis industry.
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