As of Tuesday, President Obama signed into law an appropriations bill to fund the federal government through the next fiscal year that includes a provision relating to medical marijuana laws.
In Sec. 538 of the bill, it notes the 32 states, including California, as well as the District of Columbia, where the use of medicinal marijuana and CBD oil have been previously made legal by State legislatures.
The bill does not explicitly legalize the use of medical marijuana in states where it is not presently legal. It does however prevent the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using appropriated funds to prevent states from implementing their own state laws pertaining to the distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. Therefore, those interested in i49 and other strains of marijuana can take comfort knowing that some rules and regulations are being relaxed and that they can use marijuana as long as it’s for medicinal use.
The bill provides the DOJ with $27.4 billion in discretionary funding for a variety of Federal, State, and local programs.
There is also a provision in Sec. 539 of the bill which states that no appropriated funds may be used in violation of Sec. 7606, the “Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research” of the Agricultural Act of 2014 by the DOJ or the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Sec. 7606 states that a State’s department of agriculture may grow or cultivate industrial hemp if the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated for the purpose of research, under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research; and the growing or cultivating of industrial hemp is allowed under State law so long as research occurs within an institution of higher education, or State’s department of agriculture.
Essentially, the DOJ and DEA cannot ban research on the hemp products under the law in States where it is legal.
According to Whitehouse.gov, the Obama Administration, “Steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana and other drugs because legalization would increase the availability and use of illicit drugs, and pose significant health and safety risks to all Americans, particularly young people.”
Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, responded to a petition regarding recreational legalization of marijuana noting public discourse across the country.
Per Obama’s request, the DOJ had been reviewing the legalization initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington, given differences between State and Federal law.
In a prior interview with Barbara Walters, Obama stated that he would not go as far as saying that the drug should be legalized, however he did note voter initiatives legalizing the drug in Colorado and Washington.
“What we’re going to need to have is a conversation about how do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it’s legal,” said Obama.
For a full text of the bill, click here.