The appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General created a great deal of uncertainty in the medical marijuana community. Sessions has a long history of opposing the legalization of marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes. “Marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repealed their own anti-marijuana laws. So yes, we will enforce law in an appropriate way nationwide,” Sessions said in an interview with radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt in March.
One point of particular concern was the future of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment. This legislation (which has been part of appropriations bills since 2014) prohibits the Justice Department from using any federal funds to prevent states in which medical marijuana is legal from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana. The Amendment was set to expire on April 28 with the appropriations act passed last December, of which it was a part.
The pro-marijuana press, fearful that the new administration might decide to enforce federal law against the medical marijuana industry, urged readers to contact members of Congress to support the inclusion of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment in future appropriations legislation: Just Say No to Taxpayer Funded Medical Marijuana Raids.
While its long term future may still be unclear, its immediate future is settled. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment appears as Section 537 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, scheduled to be voted on this week. It will expire in late September; stay tuned for more information as that deadline grows near.