The Senate Appropriations Committee approves amendment, defying AG Sessions request


Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved an amendment to protect medical cannabis programs from federal interference, despite a request from Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to do so.

The amendment adds a clause that prevents the Department of Justice from using funds to stop a state from implementing medical cannabis legislation.

Sessions sent a letter to congress in June requesting they do not extend the original protections given to federal budgets, which would have allowed the federal government to prosecute a state’s medical cannabis program and its participants.

The attorney general argued for the Controlled Substances Act, and deemed it unwise to restrict the discretion of the department to not prosecute certain cases in what he claims is “…the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”

Last August, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals ruled the original amendment bars the federal government from taking legal action against medical cannabis patients when they are not violating the law.

The fiscal year budget will now move to the Senate. If the amendments are approved, they will  reach a compromise with the House version of the budget.