House Committee Considers Effort to Protect Cannabis Business

House Committee Considers Effort to Protect Cannabis Business

Last month the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the 2020 Federal Spending Bill that would prohibit the Justice Department from interfering with cannabis businesses operating within their respective state laws.

This week the US House Rules Committee is similarity reviewing the amendment approved by the Appropriations Committee. The amendment was put forth by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, and Tom McClintock, a California Republican.

In addition, another amendment would prevent the Justice Department from interfering with Veterans Affairs doctors who recommend medical cannabis to patients in states with MMJ programs.

In January Attorney General Bill Barr, during his Senate Confirmation Hearing, stated that he did not intend to leverage the power of Justice Department against legally operating cannabis firms.

While spending bills are only in effect for one year, a larger, more comprehensive legislative bill dubbed the STATES ACT (Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States), a bipartisan bill introduced in the House by Reps. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, and David Joyce, an Ohio Republican, co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, would enshrine such rules permanently.

Yet another bill, the SAFE Banking Act, which passed the house in late March, is meant to protect banks that work with cannabis businesses operating in compliance with state laws.

Each of these measures continues the momentum established with the passage of 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and hemp-derivatives – i.e. CBD – for the first time since the 1930s.

Discussing the significance of the Farm Bill’s passage, Kentucky Senator, Mitch McConnell, stated, “There’s hemp all over America right now. It’s all imported. There’s no reason why American farmers shouldn’t be able to grow this crop.”

We couldn’t agree more, Mitch. The next step of course is the full rescheduling of THC cannabis from a schedule I controlled substance nationwide.

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