Join Our Newsletter Now!

Congressman Blumenauer Signs Onto Bipartisan Amendment Protecting State Marijuana Policy

1 minute Read

No one knows yet how the Trump administration will treat state marijuana laws — not even federal politicians.

Prior to his election, President Trump had stated support of states’ rights to do as they please with cannabis, but his pick for attorney general, former Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, has an unfriendly history toward weed. Sessions has criticized Obama’s administration for not enforcing federal prohibition in green states, and has said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Rather than rely on Sessions’ goodwill (or lack thereof) to respect state marijuana programs, bipartisan cannabis dream team Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) have officially announced co-sponsorship of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment: a protective measure to forbid federal officials from undermining state marijuana laws.

While it’s been known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, formerly co-sponsored by Congressman Sam Farr, a California Democrat who left office this year, the bill was first introduced in 2003 to prohibit the Justice Department from using funds to interfere with state marijuana programs. Not until 2014 did it pass the House, after having failed six times.

Current funding for the federal government, including this amendment, expires on April 28. Since Congress will likely work on funding for fiscal year 2017 prior to April, a floor amendment will presumably be in the works before then.

“With a growing number of states enacting medical cannabis laws we expect the amendment to have more support than ever, regardless of whose name appears at the top,” Tom Angell, founder and chairman of advocacy organization Marijuana Majority tells Jane Street. “It should be very difficult for members from Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota to vote this year against a measure to protect their own constituents from DEA harassment.”

Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota are among the four states that approved medical marijuana legislation in the election this past November. Including Montana, all four states that voted on medical marijuana also voted Republican — proving that marijuana policy is far from a fringe, leftist issue.

“It’s a bipartisan issue,” Rohrabacher said in an interview about the Congressional Cannabis Caucus he launched last week. The caucus provides a forum for like-minded, yet bipartisan, lawmakers to come together in support of marijuana-friendly legislation. “You have an interesting dichotomy where both of these groups, conservatives and liberals, seem to be advocating {for marijuana} on their fundamental principles.” It’s ironic, he added, that Democrats, who advocate for greater government involvement to make our lives better, while Republicans, who advocate for less government involvement and personal freedom, both come together on this issue.

Congressman Blumenauer Signs Onto Bipartisan Amendment Protecting State Marijuana Policy