President Obama approved the 2016 federal budget and it contained a prohibition that none of the funds made available to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States that have state-legal medical marijuana programs, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.
In addition, the 2016 federal budget also prohibits the use of any funds made available to any agency that might be used in contravention of the Agricultural Act of 2014 or prohibit the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp that is grown or cultivated in accordance with the Agricultural Act of 2014, within or outside the state in which industrial hemp is grown or cultivated.
What does this mean to you?
Medical Marijuana – Similar to the 2015 Federal Budget, this prohibition only covers “medical marijuana” and not “recreational marijuana.” As I have stated before, this does not prevent the Department of Justice from using funds to prevent recreational marijuana programs from implementing laws. While this is a continued step in the right direction, the prohibition does not extend to state-legal recreational marijuana.
Industrial Hemp – This is also a positive step for the industrial hemp industry for those operating under the Agricultural Act of 2014. This will allow the continued cultivation of industrial hemp for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research. However, this does not allow industrial hemp to be sold for commercial purposes. For a State like Colorado, that allows the commercialization of industrial hemp. You should contact your legal counsel to discuss the implications prior to selling any products.