Senate Committee Stands Up for Medical Cannabis Patients

U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Votes on Leahy Amendment

Washington D.C. -- This morning, the Senate Committee on Appropriations voted to include an amendment introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in the FY2018 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. The amendment prohibits the use of Federal funds to interfere with medical cannabis patients and programs that are in compliance with state medical cannabis laws.

The inclusion of this amendment in the final appropriations package would allow state programs to continue the protections afforded to them in the 2015 budget, the 2016 budget, and the 2017 continuing resolution.

“This success of the Leahy medical cannabis amendment acknowledges, yet again, that the federal government should not interfere with state medical cannabis programs,” said Steph Sherer Americans for Safe Access Executive Director. “The passage of the Leahy medical cannabis amendment also shows that Senate support exists for the central elements of the CARERS Act. The CARERS Act would make the protections in Leahy medical cannabis amendment permanent and create a much needed framework for research and federal and state cooperation.”

“We are thrilled at this vote,” said Beth Collins, Senior Director of Government Relations and External Affairs at Americans for Safe Access. “With 91 Americans a day dying from opioid overdose, and a nearly 25% decrease in opioid overdose deaths in states with medical cannabis programs, it is crucial that states are able to continue without federal interference.”

When introducing the amendment, Senator Leahy stated, “We have more important things for the justice department to do than tracking down physicians or epileptics who are using medical marijuana legally in their state.”