The Standoff Continues: Congress Prohibits DOJ from using Funds to Prevent States from Implementing Their Own Laws Legalizing Medical Marijuana

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12/11/2017

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The Standoff Continues: Congress Prohibits DOJ from using Funds to Prevent States from Implementing Their Own Laws Legalizing Medical Marijuana

 By: Kevin Cleveland and Rebecca Hause-Schultz

Congress has reached a deal to avoid government shut down on Friday due to lack of funding. This spending bill will fund the government until September 30, 2017. As part of the deal, Congress extended the Rohrbacher-Farr Amendment provisions, which prohibit the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) from spending money to prevent certain states, including California, from implementing their own laws that “authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” (SEC. 537.) Congress has renewed the medical marijuana Rohrbacher-Farr Amendment every year since it was first passed in 2014.

Given Attorney General Jeff Session’s prior comments suggesting the DOJ would begin cracking down on state medical marijuana laws, the renewal of the Rohrbacher-Farr Amendment is a relief to those concerned that the DOJ would begin prosecuting violations of federal law prohibiting marijuana use.

The continuing conflict between Federal and State medical marijuana regulation in California remains a hot button issue, as just last week, the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation  (“BMCR”) announced that its proposed licensing regulations for medical cannabis were published and the 45-day public comment period is now underway. The proposed regulations issued by the BMCR are available here

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

There are many pitfalls facing employers in the cannabis business, and the landscape of regulations is quickly changing. For more information about the status of the law covering marijuana production, wage and hour coverage and nuances in marijuana cultivation, special considerations when protecting workers, management of workforce issues, and labor law implications under the ALRA, call the experts at the Saqui Law Group and be sure to RSVP and attend the Cannabis Roundtable “Knowing What You Don’t Know,” presented by Michael Saqui and Kevin Cleveland on May 17. More information about that event is available here.

 

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