Continued protection sought for medical-marijuana states

SALEM, Ore. — Two members of Congress — one an Oregon Democrat and the other a California Republican — are pushing to ensure that protections against federal intervention remain for another year for 46 states, Washington DC, Guam and Puerto Rico that allow some form of medical marijuana.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California have sent a letter with the signatures of 64 colleagues to congressional leaders supporting the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment that prevents federal officials using public funds to enforce federal laws against medical marijuana.

“The provision, which first became law in December 2014, has successfully protected patients, providers, and businesses against federal prosecution, so long as they act within the confines of their state’s medical marijuana laws,” they said in the letter that was sent this week.

It asked Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate to include the provision in any final package as they negotiate a fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill to fund the government beyond Dec. 8.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May told congressional leaders in a letter that it would be “unwise” to renew the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, saying marijuana is harmful and is banned by federal law.

Blumenauer, in a message to marijuana stakeholders and supporters, said that despite bipartisan support for the provision, the leadership of the House didn’t allow a vote on it or any other marijuana-related amendments. But the Senate Appropriations Committee included the provision in its bill.

“I’m working hard to ensure Rohrabacher-Blumenauer remains in effect to protect individuals in 46 states and thousands of state-legal businesses from federal intervention,” the Oregon congressman said in his message, emailed to The Associated Press by the Oregon Cannabis Business Council.

Blumenauer, in a telephone interview with AP last summer, said Sessions is “out of step” with most members of Congress, who have become more supportive “of ending the failed prohibition on marijuana.”

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By Andrew Selsky

Associated Press

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