Last night, Republicans and Democrats reached an agreement to extend government spending into January. Many worried that the two parties would not reach an agreement before the deadline today and that a shutdown would be imminent. But the deal isn't just good news for those reasons. It also extended protections for states legalizing marijuana...at least temporarily.
As part of the deal reached by Republicans and Democrats, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment will be extended until the end of January. The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment is a law that prohibits the federal government from using any of its resources or money to prosecute marijuana cases in states where either medical or recreational marijuana is legal. So for at least another month, the legal marijuana industry in the United States has nothing to worry about.
Many believe this amendment is the only thing preventing Attorney General Jeff Sessions from instituting a crackdown on legal marijuana states. And some have worried that if the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment were to expire, Sessions would immediately begin taking advantage. That's probably a little pessimistic, but if the amendment were eliminated for an extended period of time, the Department of Justice would probably begin taking steps in that direction.
Of course, the news today only means the amendment is 100 percent safe for another month. The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment has been under siege ever since September when Congress began passing these temporary spending bills. Until Congress either passes a long-term spending bill including the amendment or they pass a standalone piece of legislation that guarantees these protections, legalized states will have to keep hoping that the legislative branch continues kicking this can down the road.