High Time Hold Up

Your medical marijuana is safe… for now.

Congressional lawmakers bought a little more time for the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment by extending the current federal budget with a disaster relief bill signed by President Donald Trump earlier this month. The clause is set to expire with the rest of the bill on Dec. 8.

The bill itself caught a lot of press due to the shocking ease with which Trump sided with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling. Of the 90 "no" votes in the House of Representatives, all were Republican. (House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told the Washington Post the vote indicated House Republicans "have a philosophical problem with governance.")

To recap, the amendment named for California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer prohibits the Department of Justice from aiming at the medical marijuana industry with the long arm of federal law. It's the first line of defense against Attorney General Jeff Sessions' anti-marijuana crusade.

For now, those protections are clinging to the current federal budget. But Congress has to agree on a new budget by Dec. 8. If the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment doesn't make the final cut, then Sessions will have an open field on which to wage war.

But Sessions stands across from a nation that has all but embraced the medical marijuana industry. With eight states having legalized adult-use marijuana and with 21 others and D.C. enjoying medical marijuana, Sessions has his work cut out for him.

States that have legalized recreational marijuana seem to be at the top of Sessions' list. He sent letters earlier this year to four states with legal marijuana detailing concerning aspects of the marijuana industry and demanding resolution.

Those states told him to not to worry, their marijuana industries were just fine and he needed to get his facts straight.

The California state legislature piped up this week, urging Congress to reschedule marijuana.

Currently, cannabis sits at the top of the list with heroin and LSD, above cocaine and methamphetamine. The classification supposedly indicates that marijuana has no consensus on medical efficacy, which would be news to the nation's 2.5 million medical marijuana patients.

The resolution out of California calls upon Congress to open up restrictions on banking and research surrounding marijuana. Removal of Schedule I constraints would finally give the industry room to exhale.

Current federal law would liken banks accepting money from marijuana business to aiding in the distribution of a classified substance. Restrictions on research inhibit Food and Drug Administration approval of products.

The statement echoes concerns of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who earlier this month bemoaned marijuana's Schedule I status as an impetus to medical research on the marijuana.

The committee called for the National Institute on Drug Abuse to provide an "update" on how a Schedule I label can limit the study of certain substances. It argues that, with marijuana becoming more prevalent in our society, proper testing must ensure the safety of consumer products.

The next several months will be full of ducks, dodges and counters as the states battle federal government over a controversy that is sure to set precedent in political philosophy for decades to come.

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