Senate says yes to bill that will protect states from federal intervention

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The bill would prevent the Department of Justice from targeting cannabis companies

On Thursday, the Senate approved legislation for a new spending bill that will benefit the cannabis market. This bill will add extra protection to the states in which medical marijuana is legal, and keep the federal government from tightening its noose. Another version of this document with wider and more protections was also passed in the House and it is still unknown if this one can be adopted in the final bill.

This appropriation legislation covers funding for several topics such as Commerce, Justice, Science, Rural Development, Food, and Drug Administration, to name a few, for the next 2020 fiscal year. This bill includes new language to refer to hemp and CBD topics and the vote was 84 in favor to nine against. The distinctive feature in this provision is the prohibition to prosecute business owners that are complying with state laws.

Last June, the House authorized a spending bill for the Department of Justice that, for the first time, would broaden those limits to include all cannabis programs no matter the state. The protection of the cannabis programs in this bill also includes the programs allowing recreational use or sales. Now the hope is for the Senate to follow suit; however, it was mentioned to Marijuana Moment by a few Senators how unlikely is that from happening. A bicameral agreement was made to not augment any policy process for appropriations if it is not agreed by both leaderships.

This is not the only cannabis-related rider that has benefit from passing through the spending process currently. A newly approved legislation from The Senate Appropriations Committee sets rules for some existing policies in the state of Washington, D.C. The use of local tax dollars to carry out a legal marijuana market as well as funds provisioning to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to work on regulations to legalize the hemp market.