Congress to vote on strong legal marijuana protections before November elections

The U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on a crucial amendment aimed at protecting marijuana legalization laws from federal involvement.

Almost one in four Americans live in a state the adult recreational use of marijuana is legal. Currently, these recreational markets with active dispensaries including Illinois, Massachusetts, and Nevada are not covered under protections put in place by Congress that currently protect states with medical marijuana programs. Soon, a super-important amendment to renew those protections and expand them to cover adult use could be voted on by Congress — some sources say the vote could come as early as September. 

On the dark side, two other, separate amendments are being put forth by another representative that could be devastating to states with recreational programs. If passed, the measures will effectively strip federal funding from states that permit the sale of kid-friendly products or that don’t offer educational programs aimed at reducing marijuana-impaired driving. 

The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act was filed by lawmakers in mid-July in conjunction with a wide-ranging bill funding various federal departments in the Fiscal year 2021. 

In 2014 Congress members passed yearly spending bills, including a provision protecting merchants and individuals engaged in state-sanctioned dispensing and usage of medical marijuana from prosecution by the Department of Justice. The amendment says  federal funding may not be utilized to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.” 

This amendment would remove the word “medical” from the existing terminology and extend protections to adults and patients who qualify for a license in both recreational and medical industries. This amendment was put forth by Representatives Early Blumenauer (founding member of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus), Tom McClintock, and Eleanor Holmes-Norton. 

In its current form, the spending legislation

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