For the first time ever, the U.S. Senate will link funding of the Department of Justice with a provision that protects states with legalized medical marijuana.
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies approved a bill funding the Department of Justice for 2019 with a provision that none of the funding can be used to go after medical marijuana businesses in states where it is legal. Right now, the DOJ is prevented from doing so thanks to the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment that was originally passed in 2014 and continues to receive renewal with every new budget for the federal government. But this new provision would be the first time DOJ funding was directly linked to protections for medical marijuana, and it also means Congress would not need to pass the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment again when it expires wit the current federal government budget.
The House Appropriations Committee also inserted the medical marijuana protections into their bill funding the DOJ as well, which all but ensures the protections will end up in the bill that's sent to President Donald Trump's desk later this year.
The protections passed by the House and the Senate only concern medical marijuana. There are no protections currently in place for recreational cannabis, although there are several proposals currently pending in Congress.