Congress Extends Medical Marijuana and Hemp Protections in Stop-Gap Spending Bill

Last week, Congress passed a stop-gap omnibus spending bill that include provisions that continue to block the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) from interfering with state-law compliant medical marijuana programs through December 8, 2017. Congress also extended protections prohibiting DOJ from interfering with Farm Bill compliant hemp programs.

This is good news for medical marijuana and hemp businesses, as well as individuals using cannabis products in the treatment of medical and health ailments. These medical marijuana protections, passed annually in recent years, were believed to be in significant danger when the House Rules Committee removed the provision from consideration by the full House for the fiscal year 2018 funding bill earlier in the week.

Supporters of these provisions still have work to do in placing the protections in the final spending bill for fiscal year 2018 and there is a real danger that the House Rules Committee will again prevent a full vote by the House. These provisions were included in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s version of the 2018 spending bill, but full Senate approval does not guarantee that the House/Senate conference committee fiscal year 2018 bill will keep those provisions. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about this issue.