On Sept. 6, 2017, the House Rules Committee decided to block the House of Representatives from voting on an amendment to protect medical marijuana in states that have legalized it.
The amendment, sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., was a rider in the federal spending bill and would have prohibited the Department of Justice from using federal funds to conduct medical marijuana enforcement actions in states with legalized medicinal use.
“By blocking our amendment, Committee leadership is putting at risk the millions of patients who rely on medical marijuana for treatment, as well as the clinics and businesses that support them,” Rohrabacher and Blumenauer said in a press release.
“Opposing seriously ill patients’ access to medical cannabis is sick enough, but blocking the people’s representatives from even being able to vote on the matter is just obscene,” said Tom Angell, founder of the Marijuana Majority, in a statement.
According to the congressmen, if the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment had been given a full House vote, it would have passed.
“These critical protections are supported by a majority of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle. There’s no question: If a vote were allowed, our amendment would pass on the House floor, as it has several times before.”
While the House of Representatives won’t get a chance to protect medical marijuana, there is still hope for the Senate.
“Fortunately, the amendment is currently included in the Senate’s Appropriations bill, so Congress still has a chance to protect patients and state-legal cannabis businesses in conference committee,” explained Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, in a press release.
The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, previously known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, has made it into the annual spending bill since 2014.