Just when U.S. states thought their medical cannabis programs were safe, comments from President Donald Trump have some a little nervous again about what the near future may hold.
Last week we mentioned SEC. 537 of the fiscal year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which funds the operation of the U.S. Federal Government, prevents the Department of Justice stopping U.S States or Territories from implementing their own medicinal marijuana laws.
The bill was signed into law by President Trump on Friday.
In comments related to the signing and the section dealing with medicinal cannabis, President Trump said:
“Division B, section 537 provides that the Department of Justice may not use any funds to prevent implementation of medical marijuana laws by various States and territories. I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
Some feel this still leaves plenty of wiggle room for the feds to go after states.
“The lack of clarity is disturbing and casts doubt on whether his administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions will honor the enforcement restrictions,” said part of a statement from NORML.
In another twist related to the 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill, it seems two states with recently announced programs are not covered by the protection in Section 537; North Dakota and Indiana. Also not mentioned were Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Whether these were accidental or intentional omissions is not clear at this point in time.
Even for the states and territories specifically mentioned, the now questionable protection only lasts until September. Representative Earl Blumenauer, one of the authors of the original wording of what’s known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, said the annual challenge must end and permanent protections for state-legal medical marijuana programs are needed.