Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ anti-marijuana agenda has run aground on the omnibus federal spending package advanced by Congressional leadership. The budget bill includes language introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), that prohibits the Department of Justice and affiliated agencies from spending tax money to prosecute state-lawful and compliant medical marijuana systems, businesses and patients.
The spending bill will be effective through September 30. Some see the move, in part, as a way for Republicans to dodge the medical marijuana issue until after the upcoming June primaries or even the November elections. Young voters, who tend to support Democratic positions, are more likely to come to the polls if motivated by the marijuana issue, so the GOP may wish to hold off the topic for now.
After the language was finalized, a group of Colorado lawmakers promised to press ahead for similar protections for recreational marijuana programs, as well, after the protections they had attempted to attach were kept out of the omnibus 2018 spending bill. Many people in the medical marijuana community are willing to take the extension, whatever the motive.