By Hash C. Borgir | May 6, 2017
President Donald Trump has signed into law a spending bill that protects state medical marijuana laws.
President Donald Trump signed his first piece of major legislation, a $1 trillion spending bill to keep the government operating through September. The president signed the bill Friday afternoon while at his golf club in New Jersey, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
The omnibus spending bill signed into law on Friday by President Trump includes a provision that prevents the Department of Justice – which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – from arresting or prosecuting patients, caregivers, and businesses that are acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. The bill is effective through the end of September, meaning lawmakers will need to pass a new measure before the end of the year to keep the protections in place.
Trump called the bill a “clear win for the American people,” while Ryan said “this is what winning looks like.”
Let us hope that it is indeed a win for the American people.
Trump signed the bill despite his objections to numerous provisions included in the measure. One such provision prohibits the Justice Department from using any funds to block implementation of medical marijuana laws by states and U.S. territories. In a signing statement that accompanied the bill and that laid out his objections, Trump said he reserved the right to ignore the provision. He held out the possibility that the administration could pursue legal action against states and territories that legalize marijuana for medical use.
Marijuana remains illegal for any purpose under federal law. The White House previously signaled a looming crackdown on recreational pot use. Obama also claimed to support Medical Marijuana laws yet there were many raids on legal facilities.
“I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,”
Trump said in the signing statement, a tool that previous presidents have used to explain their positions on appropriations bills.
The protections stem from an amendment originally sponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and former Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), which was first approved by the House in May 2014. It was approved again by a larger margin in June 2015, then included in the continuing appropriations packages that have funded the federal government since October 2016. Although many cannabis advocates feared that Trump’s Administration would work to remove the medical marijuana protections, they instead have embraced it. The spending bill signed into law by President Trump also protects state-level hemp laws.