Pubdate: Thu, 21 Sep 2017
Source: Tucson Weekly (AZ)
Copyright: 2017 Tucson Weekly
Author: Nick Meyers


Your meds are safe for a little while longer.

Congressional lawmakers bought a little more time for the
Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment by extending the current federal
budget with a disaster relief bill signed by President Donald Trump
earlier this month. The clause is set to expire with the rest of the
bill on Dec. 8.

The bill itself caught a lot of press due to the shocking ease with
which Trump sided with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling. Of the 90
"no" votes in the House of Representatives, all were Republican.
(House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told the Washington Post the vote
indicated House Republicans "have a philosophical problem with

To recap, the amendment named for California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and
Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer prohibits the Department of Justice from
aiming at the medical marijuana industry with the long arm of federal
law. It's the first line of defense against Attorney General Jeff
Sessions' anti-marijuana crusade.

For now, those protections are clinging to the current federal budget.
But Congress has to agree on a new budget by Dec. 8. If the
Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment doesn't make the final cut, then
Sessions will have an open field on which to wage war.

But Sessions stands across from a nation that has all but embraced the
medical marijuana industry. With eight states having legalized
adult-use marijuana and with 21 others and D.C. enjoying medical
marijuana, Sessions has his work cut out for him.

States that have legalized recreational marijuana seem to be at the
top of Sessions' list. He sent letters earlier this year to four
states with legal marijuana detailing concerning aspects of the
marijuana industry and demanding resolution.

Those states told him to not to worry, their marijuana industries were
just fine and he needed to get his facts straight.

The California state legislature piped up this week, urging Congress
to reschedule marijuana.

Currently, cannabis sits at the top of the list with heroin and LSD,
above cocaine and methamphetamine. The classification supposedly
indicates that marijuana has no consensus on medical efficacy, which
would be news to the nation's 2.5 million medical marijuana patients.

The resolution out of California calls upon Congress to open up
restrictions on banking and research surrounding marijuana. Removal of
Schedule I constraints would finally give the industry room to exhale.

Current federal law would liken banks accepting money from marijuana
business to aiding in the distribution of a classified substance.
Restrictions on research inhibit Food and Drug Administration approval
of products.

The statement echoes concerns of the Senate Appropriations Committee,
who earlier this month bemoaned marijuana's Schedule I status as an
impetus to medical research on the marijuana.

The committee called for the National Institute on Drug Abuse to
provide an "update" on how a Schedule I label can limit the study of
certain substances. It argues that, with marijuana becoming more
prevalent in our society, proper testing must ensure the safety of
consumer products.

The next several months will be full of ducks, dodges and counters as
the states battle federal government over a controversy that is sure
to set precedent in political philosophy for decades to come.
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