President Trump is back at it again with his most recent inconsistent stance on marijuana. “As part of his recently released fiscal year 2021 budget plan, Trump proposed ending an existing policy that protects state medical marijuana programs from Justice Department interference in addition to a provision that would continue to prohibit the District of Columbia from regulating the sale of marijuana for adult use.” This comes on the heals of a December 2019 release concerning the medical cannabis rider that was part of Trump’s pending legislation stating the Trump administration “will treat this provision consistent with the President’s constitutional responsibility to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.” While this statement was vague at the time, clearly the President was forecasting the recent removal from his proposed budget plan.
What does this mean?
This budget rider has been an important protection for the medical marijuana world for several years. In fact, this was affirmed by the 9th Circuit when it concluded that §542 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act prohibits DOJ from spending money on actions that prevent medical marijuana states giving practical effect to their state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana including prosecutions against state-compliant medical marijuana operations.
If Congress is unable to add the rider as part of the appropriations process, the already challenging world of marijuana will be thrown into additional uncertainty. The HB cannabis team will continue to monitor and provide updates.