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WIRE: House Rules Committee blocks votes on cannabis amendments

Washington, DC – National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) executive director Aaron Smith issued the statement below in response to a late-night vote by the House Rules Committee to block the full House from voting on medical marijuana protections and several other cannabis-related amendments during its upcoming consideration of the omnibus Appropriations bill.

One of the amendments that will not be allowed a vote is the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment (previously known as Rohrabacher-Farr), which has been included in each annual budget since December 2014 and forbids the Justice Department from using federal tax dollars to interfere in the implementation of state medical cannabis laws. Other provisions that will not be allowed a vote include the McClintock-Polis amendment, which would have prohibited the Justice Department from interfering with states’ adult-use marijuana laws in addition to medical marijuana laws, and an amendment sponsored by Rep. Denny Heck that would have prevented the federal government from interfering with financial institutions that choose to service the legal cannabis industry.

According to a national Quinnipiac University poll released early last month, 94% of U.S. voters support legal access to medical cannabis and three out of four (75%) oppose the enforcement of federal prohibition laws in states where cannabis is legal for medical or adult use.

“The Committee’s decision to prevent consideration of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment attempts to move the country backward at a time when the vast majority of voters are looking to Congress to reform our nation’s outdated marijuana laws. Nine out of 10 Americans support legal access to medical cannabis, making it perhaps the least controversial issue in American politics. Voters of all political persuasions generally agree the federal government should not be using limited resources to interfere in state medical cannabis laws. Shutting down regulated medical cannabis businesses will result in licensed patients resorting to the criminal market to obtain their medicine.

“Fortunately, the amendment is currently included in the Senate’s Appropriations bill, so Congress still has a chance to protect patients and state-legal cannabis businesses in conference committee. We hope leaders on both sides of the aisle will work together to ensure this widely popular amendment is renewed in this year’s spending package.”

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Representing over 1,400 member-businesses, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization working for cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

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