For the past four years the cannabis industry has been under the protection of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment which was formerly known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment. Essentially, this amendment barred the Department of Justice to use a single dollar on prosecuting cannabis businesses in cannabis friendly states.
The U.S House Rules Committee just blocked this amendment from being voted on since it ‘divided the house on the issue’. While Rohrabacher argued that it is essential to protect the will of the people, the House simply decided that the issue was too much for them to handle.
DOJ – What Does This Mean?
If the amendment expires, which it is soon to do. It would mean open season for the DOJ to pursuit cannabis businesses in cannabis-friendly states. As we know, Jeff Sessions has been long waiting for the opportunity to go after the “scourge that is marijuana” and if this amendment doesn’t pass…he might have the ability to do so.
This of course makes the cannabis industry very nervous indeed. With an anti-cannabis Attorney General at the helm of the Department of Justice…this could mean trouble for the industry as a whole.
Don’t Panic…It’s Not Over Yet
For those of you preparing for weedpocalypse, don’t worry. There is still a chance the amendment passes as the Senate has to vote on the issue. Within the Senate there are several key players that are in favor of it. People like Corey Booker and Rand Paul have long been vocal about their support for letting the states decide on their cannabis policy. Meaning that they will most probably back this amendment.
We know that there are many Senators who are not opposed to cannabis and actually wants to see how the industry plays out. Therefore, there is still hope that this amendment will pass.
But What If It Doesn’t Pass?
If it doesn’t pass, then we could expect a crack down from the Federal government. However, if we look at the current prosecution stats for cannabis under Sessions, it’s actually lower than it was last year during the same time period. So perhaps Sessions is merely a Foghorn of sorts. Ranting like a deranged old man about ‘them pesky weed smokers’. He hasn’t done much to stifle the cannabis industry and there might be a reason for it.
Cannabis acceptance is at an all time high. Last year nearly 50 million people partook in the US and support for medical marijuana has a 94% approval rate. If Sessions were to exert the force of the federal government on the cannabis industry, there might be a backlash like never before. People are tired of the drug war and if the federal government were to continue with their crackdown, it will only fuel support even more.
Additionally, there are only roughly 500 DEA agents worldwide. In other words, they need help from local law enforcement to get the job done. If enough local governments simply refuse to help the federal government…they wouldn’t be able to do much.
For now, it’s a wait and see game.