Senate panel votes to protect medical marijuana from Jeff Sessions

(courtesy Drug Policy Alliance)

Lawmakers have initially decided against Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ request to crack down on legal cannabis.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a budget bill amendment on Thursday to extend protections on state medical marijuana programs from federal interference, reports the Hill.

The amendment, introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), adds a clause to the 2018 Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill that prevents any federal funds to be used against “state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

“We have more important things for the Department of Justice to do than tracking down doctors or epileptics using medical marijuana legally in their state,” said Leahy.

The decision goes against a request Sessions made earlier this year not to renew similar protections implemented by the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment.

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially…

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