Marijuana News Roundup: Budget Bill Protects Medical Marijuana

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The $1.1 trillion federal budget bill passed last week by Congress and signed by President Trump forbids the U.S. Department of Justice from using federal funds to interfere with state medical marijuana policies.

The prohibition has been in force since 2014 and is known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, the first federal law ever passed to provide some protection for medical marijuana patients.

The extension lasts only until September 30, the end of the current fiscal year, and there is no guarantee that its protections will be extended in the fiscal year 2018 federal budget.

At the same time, a Department of Justice official sent a letter to members of the department’s Trustee Program which is responsible for overseeing the administration of bankruptcy cases and private trustees. In the letter, Cliff White, director of the Trustee Program, reminded trustees that marijuana remains illegal under federal law and that trustees should not be “placed in the untenable position of violating federal law by liquidating, receiving proceeds from, or in any way administering marijuana assets.”

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has introduced legislation that would, among other things, provide bankruptcy protection for companies in the marijuana business.

Trump Spurns Congress as He Signals Medical Marijuana Fight
President Donald Trump signaled he may ignore a congressional ban on interfering with state medical marijuana laws, arguing in a lengthy statement that he isn’t legally bound by a series of limits lawmakers imposed on him.

Trump issued the “signing statement” Friday after he signed a measure funding the government for the remainder of the federal fiscal year, reprising a controversial tactic former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama used while in office.

Trump also suggested he may ignore gender and racial preferences in some government programs as well as congressional requirements for advance notice before taking a range of foreign policy and military actions.

Read more at Bloomberg.