How Trump’s War on Weed Could Start on Saturday (And Why It Probably Won’t)
The most important Congressional action on cannabis — ever — is set to expire this Friday at midnight; chances are, you won’t even notice.
Depending on who you ask, the next few Saturdays will see the cannabis industry waking up to just another day in Donald Trump’s America — or the beginning of the end.
Ongoing squabbles in Congress mean the country is veering towards a temporary shutdown of the federal government. Unless lawmakers can agree on a new federal spending bill, the nation will run out of money and the government will shut down: National parks will close, in-process government loans will be frozen, and all “nonessential” government employees will be sent home.
That does not include federal lawmen at the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration, who for the first time since December 2014 may have the legal ability to enforce federal drug law against state-legal medical marijuana enterprises.
For the past several fiscal years, Congress’s annual spending bill has included a budget amendment which ends America’s drug war — at least for state law-abiding medical cannabis operators.
Named for authors U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and former U.S. Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel), the “Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment” strips the Justice Department of all funding for prosecuting state-legal medical marijuana.
Easily the most significant action taken on marijuana policy in Congress ever, and upheld in the courts — in language so strong that observers called it a “smackdown” for the government — the amendment led one longstanding case against a California dispensary operator to be dismissed, and has stalled prosecutions in more than a dozen other cases in California and Washington.
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