Marijuana Moment: State Marijuana Protections Not Included In Justice Department Funding Bill, Despite Lawmakers’ Pleas

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A much-anticipated congressional spending bill does not currently include provisions to protect all state, territory and tribal marijuana programs from Justice Department interference, despite pleas from dozens of bipartisan lawmakers.

There were high hopes that such language could be attached to the base bill for the Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) as introduced by congressional leaders. But that didn’t pan out, meaning lawmakers will again need to make their case for the protections’ inclusion as amendments—either in committee or on the House floor, as in past years.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), along with 44 of their colleagues, recently sent a letter calling on the chairman and ranking member of an appropriations subcommittee to address the issue through the must-pass legislation.

The text released on Tuesday didn’t include the sweeping protections, however. Instead, it simply maintained an existing rider preventing the Justice Department from using its appropriated federal funds to interfere in the implementation of state medical cannabis programs only, not extending those protections to all state marijuana programs including recreational laws.

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State Marijuana Protections Not Included In Justice Department Funding Bill, Despite Lawmakers’ Pleas

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