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Budget Includes Protection From Feds for Medical Marijuana Patients

The budget legislation signed Friday by President Trump continues protections for states with legal medical marijuana programs, though the continuation of the protection is again temporary, lasting only until the end of the fiscal year in September.

The budget continued a provision that bars the Justice Department from spending money on enforcing the federal marijuana prohibition in states where people are legally using it under state medical marijuana laws.

The provision in the $1.3 trillion budget bill, however, doesn’t extend to non-medical use of marijuana, which has been legalized in nine states.

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who is one of the most vocal advocates in Congress for legal marijuana use, said the country should get in line with the states, and make the protections permanent.

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“While I’m glad that our medical marijuana protections are included, there is nothing to celebrate since Congress only maintained the status quo,” Blumenauer said in a statement. “These protections have been law since 2014. This matter should be settled once and for all. Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans, across every party, strongly favor the right to use medical marijuana.”

Blumenauer also criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who opposes states’ legalization of marijuana, and has instructed federal prosecutors that they may enforce federal marijuana laws in some cases, reversing a previous policy that kept the Justice Department from pursuing cases in states that had legalized cannabis.

“They’re ignoring the will of the American people by blocking protections for state adult-use laws and cannabis banking,” Blumenauer said.

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