Congress will need to act by the end of this week to pass a bill to continue funding the government or risk a shutdown. As part of that funding bill, the House and Senate will also need to decide whether or not to extend a rule that prevents the Department of Justice from using any of its funding to prosecute marijuana cases in legal states. And now several conservatives are demanding they keep those rules in place.
A handful of prominent conservatives signed a letter demanding that congressional leaders extend the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment protecting marijuana businesses in legal states. Considering that Republicans control majorities in both the House and Senate, their argument relied on ideas that would appeal to right-wing politicians.
"The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer/Leahy Amendment merely prohibits the use of taxpayer money by federal authorities to prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers who are in compliance with the laws of their state," they wrote. "At its heart, however, it is a guard for our nation’s fragile principle of federalism—the right of the states to govern matters within their borders as their constituents see fit."
The letter was signed by individuals from a variety of conservative organizations including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Campaign for Liberty, the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, the Institute for Liberty and the Taxpayer's Protection Alliance. It's interesting that their argument does not rely on data or information regarding the positives and benefits of medical marijuana, but rather an ideological one surrounding states rights and the role of the federal government.
Considering that Republicans portray themselves as the party of small government, you'd think that would be effective. But the GOP has shown time and time again that they only disapprove of federal government intervening in states' issues if they agree with the states point-of-view. But considering many Republicans already support this amendment, the push by these groups to pass the amendment may very well be successful.