The new federal budget looks to eliminate the free pass given to legal marijuana states
Yesterday, President Trump presented his budget plan for the fiscal year 2021 and, even though he once said that he would be supporting national marijuana legalization, he seems to be backing up now. The decision was made, according to the new budget, to put an end to a current policy that grants protection from any interference from the Justice Department to medical marijuana programs in legal states. This rider, which has been renewed every year since 2014, forbids the Justice Department from using any funds to prevent states “from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
However, that could now be about to change.
This is not the first time an administration made such a request, as the last two budgets that Trump presented didn’t have any medical cannabis protection either. In the past, President Obama asked for this policy to be removed, as well, but Congress ignored those petitions, and the protections were renewed in the spending bills. The House wanted to take things further and, during last year’s appropriations session, a proposal was made that would have extended the protection nationwide not only to medical programs, but all recreational marijuana programs as well.
Last December, when Trump signed the spending bill, he also sent a statement attached stating that he had the right to ignore the rider approved by Congress and that the administration would “treat this provision consistent with the President’s constitutional responsibility to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.” Washington is another victim of this decision, as the budget proposal has a section that ends up blocking D.C from using tax dollars to legalize marijuana.