Nearly 70 members of Congress have signed a letter dated Jan. 5 and sent to the U.S. House of Representatives leadership, urging the inclusion of the McClintock-Polis Amendment. The McClintock-Polis Amendment would block the U.S. Department of Justice from using funds to interfere with any form of state-legal cannabis programs.
Representatives Tom McClintock and Jared Polis have indicated that the bill would, in simple terms, remove the word “medical” from the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, a similar amendment protects medical cannabis state laws.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Jan. 4 memo only added fuel to the nationwide effort to legalize cannabis in a number of states, including raising the urgency of the McClintock-Polis Amendment.
“For several years, I have introduced a bipartisan amendment with Rep. McClintock, which would prohibit the Dept. of Justice from using federal resources to interfere with legal medical and recreational marijuana activities,” Rep. Jared Polis wrote. “Now with Attorney General Sessions’ shortsighted announcement, I am thrilled to welcome nearly 70 members who are asking for the amendment to be attached to the government-funding bill,” said Polis. “It would be a temporary, but urgent and necessary fix, as I continue to push for passage of my Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which would finally lift the federal prohibition on marijuana.”
The letter then goes to the extent of listing every state that allows some form of cannabis including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Currently, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment has been extended for short increments. That bill remains in place until Jan. 19. Its authors have suggested that the bill needs to be expanded to include recreational state laws. “I think we’re both confident that we’re in a very strong position for [The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment] to be renewed,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer told CULTURE. “. . . It’s timely that it actually should be expanded. We have support in both parties to do this. This puts a spotlight on it. Dana has been working tirelessly on his side of this aisle. We’ve had broad bipartisan support, and we’re in great shape in the Senate. Hopefully, this will enable us to ramp up and expand those protections.”