28 U.S. States have passed some form of recreational or medical cannabis legislation despite cannabis being defined by the Controlled Substance Act as a Schedule 1 drug. Despite the shifting tide, Jeff Sessions redacted the Cole Memo earlier this year which was an Obama era policy which restricted federal interference with medical marijuana states and the legal businesses which made those involved in the industry nervous.
The latest bipartisan omnibus federal spending bill brings good news for the sector. It has restricted Jeff Sessions and the DEA from allocating any government fundings towards going after the cannabis and industrial hemp industries in legal states.
“We are concerned about the Department of Justice enforcing federal marijuana law in a way that blocks implementation of marijuana reform laws in those states that have passed such reforms,” 59 bipartisan members of the House wrote in a letter last Friday.
The new federal budget also contained two new provisions that protect the growing U.S. hemp industry. Since the 2014 Farm Bill industrial hemp pilot programs have emerged in 38 different States. Entrepreneurs and farmers see the benefits of achieving the commercial of a commerical revival of hemp as an agricultural crop.
Two amendments made its way into the new budget that protects federal involvement with those acting within the confines of the law:
SEC. 729. None of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act may be used (1) in contravention of section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 5940); or (2) to prohibit the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp, or seeds of such plant, that is grown or cultivated in accordance with subsection section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014, within or outside the State in which the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated
SEC. 537. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (‘‘Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research’’) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.