The Republican Party is torn on states legalizing marijuana. On one hand, there's the more libertarian wing that wants to leave it up to the states and keep the federal government out of it. But then there's the Jeff Sessions wing who wants to crack down and stop marijuana legalization from spreading. And now those two wings will have to decide what to do about an amendment protecting marijuana laws.
The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment is a piece of legislation that protects states that legalized medical and recreational marijuana from intervention by the federal government. And as the Los Angeles Times reports, the Republican Party is unsure what to do about it when it's set to expire in December.
The amendment was in danger of going away last month when a House committee refused to bring it to the floor as it was set to expire. However, the budget deal eventually passed by the Senate included an extension of the amendment until this December. Considering Republicans hold the majority in both houses of Congress, they need to figure out what to do fast.
Part of the problem is the White House's mixed response towards marijuana. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has long made it clear he wants to do away with the amendment and use the Department of Justice to crackdown on marijuana. Meanwhile, President Trump has expressed his support of states legalizing medical marijuana.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican congressman who co-sponsored the amendment, has repeatedly called out Jeff Sessions and noted that the Attorney General remains out of touch with the American people. As he told the Los Angeles Times, "Marijuana got more votes than Trump. There are millions of Republicans and independents who voted for it. There are 20 million people a month who use it.”
The Senate seems more open to keeping the amendment than the House, but both branches of Congress will need to agree on a solution or the amendment will go away.
And that is exactly what Jeff Sessions wants.