FY17 Budget Protects Medical Cannabis Patients

budget_books.jpgAfter passing a temporary stopgap budget measure, Congress has funded the Government through September 30, 2017. Included in the Appropriations bill is a provision that prevents the Department of Justice from expending federal funds to prevent the implementation of state medical cannabis programs. The Appropriations bill also includes protections for states with industrial hemp programs

The amendment introduced by Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) provides patients more certainty regarding access to their medicine over the summer. However, this provision expires on September 30th, meaning that in the fall patients will again have to worry about whether or not they may be prosecuted for taking their medicine. To prevent this yearly uncertainty in the appropriations process, legislation must be passed that provides patients permanent protections and safe access to their medicine.

In addition to protections for medical cannabis patients, other noteworthy appropriations include:

  • $2 billion in additional funding for the National Institutes of Health

  • $1.03 billion for comprehensive opioid reduction activities

  • $1.12 billion for an evidence based opioid drug overdose prevention program

  • $383 million for the Diversion Control Program (an $11 million increase)

The full text of the medical cannabis amendment is below and the full Appropriations bill text is available here:

SEC. 537. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

These protections are in place because of the efforts of advocacy organizations like Americans for Safe Access.  For us to continue doing this important work, please consider donating or becoming a member today.