U.S. House supports state-legal cannabis programs

In a 267-165 vote on Thursday, t​he U.S. House of Representatives ​approved a bipartisan amendment to protect states with legal marijuana programs from U.S. Department of Justice interference and enforcement.

More specifically, the amendment to the fiscal year 2020 Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill​ prohibits the Justice Department from using funds to prevent states from implementing their adult-use and medical marijuana programs. While cannabis is legal in some capacity in 33 states, it is still considered federally illegal.

Therefore, the Department of Justice still holds the authority to shut down those programs as a violation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This amendment would eliminate funding from the Department to enforce the CSA against legal marijuana programs.

The historic significance of U.S. House support for state-legal cannabis programs

The final version of the House amendment was submitted by:

  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
  • Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)
  • Congresswoman Eleanor Norton (Delegate, Washington D.C.)

This marks the first time a congressional chamber voted to fully protect state-legal cannabis programs from Justice Department interference. Neal Levine, CEO of the Cannabis Trade Federation, characterized Congress as making a “historic vote,” declaring that the “federal government should defer to state cannabis laws.”

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The fight isn’t over (yet)

While the vote is certainly a landmark occasion, it’s still unclear the Republican-controlled Senate will support the amendment. Even if the amendment is included in the final spending bill, it would only remain in effect for a year.

Cannabis Legal Group Associate Attorney Jennifer Domingue urges the importance of contacting your senator:

“While the House vote is a great step in the right direction, we are only half-way to an effective change. The Blumenauer-McClintock amendment, which blocks the federal government from interfering with state cannabis laws, is now headed to a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate. We applaud the US Representatives for their overwhelming support for state marijuana laws, but urge you to contact your U.S. Senator and ask for their support on the Blumenauer-McClintock amendment!”

Sydney Fairman (36 Posts)

Sydney Fairman is the Social Media Marketing Specialist for the Law Offices of Barton Morris and Cannabis Legal Group. While at Central Michigan University, Sydney was an active member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and held various internships, leadership and part-time positions. These places of employment include the City of Mt. Pleasant, Grand Central Magazine, Mackinac State Historic Parks and WCMU Public Media (PBS). She graduated in May 2018 with a Bachelors Degree in Applied Arts in Integrative Public Relations and minor in Journalism. Sydney comes to us after her first position post-college with Gale, a Cengage Company as a Marketing Associate. She possesses a passion for writing, marketing and graphic design and showcases this on Cannabis Legal Group's website and social media channels.

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