Earlier this month, we wrote about how the House of Representatives reviewed a spending bill and decided to block floor votes for all amendments having anything to do with marijuana. Turns out, President Trump actually approved a temporary budget deal that includes the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer clause, which bans the use of federal funding to interfere in states that have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes, and was one of the amendments that was rejected by the House.
The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment was set to expire on Sept. 30, but this deal extended marijuana protections until Dec. 8. The budget agreement that the amendment was attached to also approved funding for hurricane relief, federal spending and raised the debt ceiling. The latter means that the government gave itself permission to borrow even more money, which caused the national debt to exceed $20 billion for the first time in history.
You know what might help? If the federal government legalized marijuana and could therefore tax cannabis products. Although that would likely cause the price of weed to spike, it could potentially get us out of the debt that's been building for the entirety of American history.
Of course, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has continued to speak out about his disdain for marijuana legalization, but that shows there's an obvious disconnect regarding the Trump administration's stance on cannabis. Many Republicans were reportedly upset about Trump's inclusion of the marijuana protections clause, which also shows a divide between the administration and its supporters. It all just seems a bit unorganized, with each political powerhouse having their own separate agenda.
At least the Senate is supportive of protecting medical marijuana businesses and patients, which is clear based on their inclusion of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment in their own spending bill. This move was actually a direct rejection of a written request by Sessions earlier this year that specifically asked them to throw the amendment out.
In his letter, Sessions writes (poorly, I might add): "I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department (of Justice) to particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime."
He then goes on to discuss the dangers of drug traffickers, who are all operating within the black market and therefore have no direct connection to the regulated marijuana industry. He claims that traffickers use state medical marijuana laws as a "guise" and "often find a place for themselves within state regulatory systems," but then provides no proof that this is true expect for an alleged incident in Colorado.
He also cites the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which has linked marijuana to negative health effects such as "an increased risk of psychiatric disorders such as psychosis, respiratory ailments such as lung infections, cognitive impairments such as IQ loss, and substance use disorder and addiction."
You know what else can cause psychosis? Meth, which is listed as a Schedule II drug and therefore federally classified as less harmful than marijuana. You know what else can cause respiratory ailments? Cigarettes, which are known to be incredibly destructive to one's health but are still considered socially acceptable around the world. You know what else can cause a decrease in IQ? Alcohol consumption, yet that's also completely acceptable in most cultures. You know what else can be abused and addictive? Literally anything. The Internet, sugar or something bizarre from "My Strange Addiction" like that lady who can't stop eating cat hair.
It's also worth nothing that NIDA revised its marijuana facts in August and specified that the long-term effects of marijuana have yet to be proven due to contradicting studies regarding loss of IQ points and mental effects. The organization does know that marijuana can affect brain development in teenagers, but that's why you must be 21 to smoke cannabis in states that have legalized recreational use, since adult brains are fully developed. So, not only is Sessions' opinion of marijuana outdated, but so are the facts that he's using to back up his stance.
Basically, I believe the Senate made a good decision in disregarding Sessions' request, and continuing to protect the medical marijuana industry. We just have to hope that Congress, as one entity, will continue to keep the federal government out of state regulations. Better yet, don't just hope. Call your representatives and senators to voice your opinion on this issue. Your opinion matters and deserves to be heard, all you need to do is make sure the right people are listening. Then take a hit to congratulate yourself for doing something to stop the feds from taking away your pot.