President Donald Trump’s proposal for the fiscal year 2021 budget plan was released on Feb. 10—and it did not include an existing rider with protections for states with medical cannabis. The proposal also blocks Washington D.C. from using local taxes to fund recreational cannabis legalization.
Before now, the rider that protected medical cannabis laws was consistently approved in appropriation bills since 2014. Last year, the U.S. House approved a wider-reaching protections amendment that would have protected recreational and territory programs as well, but that amendment was halted in the Senate.
Marijuana Moment reports that the rider blocks the U.S. Department of Justice from using its funds to block states from “implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
Meanwhile, the rider also requests that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reorganize its priorities, including the “regulation of cannabis and cannabis derivatives.” The proposal also outlined how it intends to divert the money within four branches of the FDA.
“FDA recognizes the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds may offer, and acknowledges the significant interest in these possibilities,” the agency said in a summary. “FDA is aware that companies market products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in ways that violate the law and may put consumer health and safety at risk.”
“Questions remain regarding the safety of these compounds,” it continued. “FDA is committed to protecting the public health and improving regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of cannabis and cannabis-derived products within the agency’s jurisdiction.”
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) would drastically lose funding under the proposal. If the budget plan is enacted, ONDCP’s budget would drop from $425 million it received in 2020 to $29 million for 2021, representing a 90 percent cut. Some of the ONDCP’s funding would instead go the Drug Enforcement Administration to improve law enforcement coordination.
The proposal also calls for the end of protections on hemp research programs, which are already protected anyways under the 2018 Farm Bill, as power was transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.