FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Morgan Fox, Media Relations Director
Congressional Committee Approves Medical Cannabis Protections in Appropriations Spending Bill
Historic move is first time provision to protect state medical cannabis programs from federal interference has been included via House committee; language was amended to previous spending bills since 2014
Cannabis business leaders heading to Washington next week to continue momentum and push for more comprehensive reforms
Washington, D.C. – The House Committee on Appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) approved a measure in a voice vote on Thursday that would renew protections for state medical cannabis programs when the current spending budget expires in September. The amendment, which was introduced by Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), prevents the Department of Justice from using any resources to target medical cannabis patients or providers who are in compliance with state laws.
This is the first time that this language has been included in the spending bill by the House Appropriations Committee. Originally added to the federal budget in 2014, this restriction was consistently renewed as an amendment by the Senate Appropriations Committee or a continuing resolution in subsequent budgets, most recently in March. Current protections are set to expire on September 30 unless the new spending bill is approved or the current budget is extended.
“With 9-in-10 Americans supporting medical cannabis, it’s great to see that protecting legal providers has finally become a non-issue in Congress,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “Now, it’s time for Congress to expand these protections by preventing federal overreach in all state cannabis laws, including those that allow responsible adult use and have successfully replaced criminal markets with thriving, regulated industries.”
Next week, more than 200 cannabis industry leaders from across the country will descend upon Washington, D.C. for the National Cannabis Industry Association’s 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days. Over the course of the three-day event, citizen lobby meetings will be held with Congressional offices to discuss the positive impacts that legal cannabis businesses are already having in their states and advocate for the fair treatment of the legal cannabis industry. For more information, please visit https://thecannabisindustry.org/ncias-8th-annual-cannabis-industry-lobby-days/
Cannabis is legal for adults in nine states and the District of Columbia, and 46 states have legalized some form of medical cannabis. A Quinnipiac University poll released last month showed that 93% of voters support legal access to medical cannabis and 70% oppose enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have approved cannabis for medical or adult use.
The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization broadly representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.