Ron Cogswell

House Committee Blocks All Cannabis-Related Budget Amendment Votes

The Republican-controlled House Rules Committee has blocked multiple cannabis-related amendments from receiving consideration by the full chamber, effectively preventing the House from offering the industry protection from the Justice Department.

The quashed amendments include: protections for state-approved hemp programs and banks choosing to do business with the cannabis industry; the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which prevents the feds from using federal dollars to interfere with state-legal medical cannabis programs; a funding reduction for the Drug Enforcement Agency’s cannabis eradication program; expanded access for cannabis research; ending the federal incentive to revoke drivers licenses from individuals charged with cannabis crimes; allowing Washington D.C. to move forward with implementing a tax-and-regulate program; and an amendment that would provide protections for state-approved adult-use programs similar to the protections provided by Rohrabacher-Blumenauer.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved Rohrabacher-Farr in July, which means that the language, authorized in every budget since 2014, will be considered in a conference committee to determine the amendments included in the final budget.

Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Dana Rohrabacher said the move by the House “is putting at risk millions of patients who rely on medical marijuana for treatment, as well as the clinics and businesses that support them.”

“This decision goes against the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly oppose federal interference with state marijuana laws,” the statement says. “These critical protections are supported by a majority of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle. There’s no question: If a vote were allowed, our amendment would pass on the House floor, as it has several times before.”

Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said the House decision “attempts to move the country backward at a time when the vast majority of voters are looking to Congress” for cannabis law reform.

“Voters of all political persuasions generally agree the federal government should not be using limited resources to interfere in state medical cannabis laws,” he said in a statement. “Shutting down regulated medical cannabis businesses will result in licensed patients resorting to the criminal market to obtain their medicine.”

While Rohrabacher-Blumenauer is still on the table, the other amendments will not be considered in the final budget.

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