It’s official: Medical marijuana companies won’t have to worry about being prosecuted by the federal government for at least another six months.
President Donald Trump on Friday signed into law a $1.3 trillion federal spending bill that includes an extension of a statute prohibiting the Department of Justice from interfering in state MMJ programs.
However, the budget bill lasts only through September, at which point Congress will have to approve either a new federal budget or an extension of the deal just signed.
So, the fight to keep federal prosecutors from potentially cracking down on MMJ companies is ongoing, since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been lobbying Congress to kill the law, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment.
The amendment, which has been approved only as a part of the temporary federal budget, has required repeated renewal by Congress because stand-alone bills to protect state-authorized cannabis programs have not gotten any traction in either the House or Senate.
Friday marks the 11th time the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment has been approved or renewed by Congress since it first passed in 2014.
Sessions has also made other anti-cannabis moves, such as revoking several Obama-era DOJ policy memos in January, including the Cole Memo, which provided guidance for prosecutors regarding the burgeoning cannabis industry.
Marijuana industry allies in Congress have been unsuccessful in their attempts to get the current law expanded to include protections for state recreational marijuana laws and businesses, so adult-use MJ businesses remain technically vulnerable to prosecution by U.S. attorneys.