Senate Committee Vote Defies Sessions on State-Legal Cannabis

By David Jenison on July 29, 2017

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted today to approve the renewal of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which helps protect state-sanctioned cannabis operations from the Justice Department. The rider, first introduced in 2014, must be renewed each year, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions implored Congress in a letter last May to let the amendment lapse.

The Republican-leaning, 31-person committee includes high-profile politicians like Marco Rubio, Chris Murphy, Jeff Merkley, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Jon Tester, Lisa Murkowski, Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein and mutant turtle Mitch McConnell. The senators approved the amendment by a voice vote, which suggests it easily passed. 

While this is good news, keep in mind, the same committee voted 24 to 7 this month to permit the Veterans Health Administration to recommend medical cannabis, if appropriate, in states that allow it. The House Rules Committee, however, killed the amendment by prohibiting a floor vote. The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment still has more hurdles to overcome before it's officially renewed, but so far it's certainly heading in the right direction. 

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