Senate Committee Keeps Medical Marijuana Protections In Place

Senate Committee Keeps Medical Marijuana Protections In Place

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Protections for state medical marijuana laws and people complying with them have survived an attempt to gut the provisions in a key Senate committee. Earlier this week, for the first time ever, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies included the medical marijuana protections in the initial version of the legislation as introduced by Republican leaders. But on Thursday, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), filed an amendment before the full Appropriations Committee that would have prevented the rider from taking effect until the government removes cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. “States are running over the top and this issue continues to grow,” said the anti-legalization senator, who recently appeared in a TV ad opposing the medical cannabis ballot measure that voters in his state will consider during this month’s primary election. “As opioids are increasing, and we are leaning into fighting against opioids, we sending a double standard message to say less opioids, but more marijuana.” But Lankford decided not to force a vote on his amendment. “I understand I do not have the votes, and so I will withdraw it,” he said. The medical marijuana measure has been federal law since 2014, but in past years its continuance has required specific votes in committee or on the House floor. The subcommittee’s move to include the provision in introduced base legislation signals cannabis reform’s maturation as a political issue. The House Appropriations Committee adopted the medical marijuana protections in a voice vote last month. Since the language is now in both chambers’ Justice Department funding legislation, it is all but certain to end up in the final Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill sent to President Trump later this year. If so, people complying with state medical cannabis laws would be safe from federal […]

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