A group of 48 House Representatives sent a letter calling on the chairman and ranking members of a House appropriations subcommittee to address cannabis issues through the must-pass legislation as part of a spending bill expected to be introduced next week, reported Marijuana Moment.
The letter, shared with Marijuana Moment, includes three sections of language that the lawmakers hope to see in the base spending bill for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS).
The proposals would block “the Department of Justice from prosecuting those who comply with their state or tribal marijuana laws,” wrote the group which included Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).
The four reps had signed their names to an earlier letter, in 2021 in which they pointed out that state-level legalization laws were decided upon by the voters and therefore “the federal government should not interfere with these programs and the will of the voters of these states.”
Lawmakers Now Want Broader Protections
A rider preventing the DOJ from using federal funds to interfere in legal medical cannabis legalization has been renewed yearly since 2014, but lawmakers are now pushing for broader protections in this latest appropriations measure.
“None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used to enforce federal prohibitions involving the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes that are permitted by the laws of the state, the District of Columbia, or U.S. territory where the act was committed, or to prevent states, the District of Columbia, or U.S. territories from implementing their own laws that permit the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes.”
Rep. Blumenauer has said on numerous occasions that cannabis legalization is a priority for him. Blumenauer handily won May’s Democratic primary in Oregon with nearly 95% of the vote, which he’s done since 1996.
“States from coast to coast—across the political spectrum, red and blue have—have taken meaningful action to end prohibitory policies and allow the development of both adult use and medical marijuana programs,” Blumenauer said. “The federal government should not interfere with these programs and the will of the voters.”