The Washington Times
February 1, 2018
By: Beau Rothschild
It is time for the real federalists in Congress to step up and stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ war on medical marijuana.
Veronique de Rugy wrote recently in Reason, “the Attorney General’s reversal on marijuana is out of step with states’ rights and public opinion.” The real federalists respect the idea that “it’s the essence of liberty to let people make their own decisions as long as they’re not harming others.” States that have consented to this exercise of liberty should be respected.
Now that the government shutdown is over, and Congress is staring at a new Feb. 8, 2018 deadline to fund the government, the issue is particularly urgent. The issue that stalled the last continuing resolution was a debate over DACA and funding for a wall at the southern border. One issue percolating that could become another stumbling block for the next deadline is the issue of how the federal government will treat states that have allowed medical marijuana.
With every continuing resolution, Congress has continued a funding rider that has run with appropriations bills since 2014 that allow 29 states and the District of Columbia to grow, use and distribute medical marijuana. These states have all changed the law to make medical marijuana lawful within the states’ borders.
The funding rider prevents the Justice Department from interfering with states that have consented to medical marijuana, yet Mr. Sessions has aggressively lobbied the House and Senate to strip that language from the final appropriations bill that is signed into law.
In the House, Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, and Earl Blumenauer, Oregon Democrat, were blocked last year from offering their defunding amendment when the House considered the appropriations measure that funds the Justice Department. In the Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat, was successful in attaching the funding rider to the Senate appropriations measure.
Beau Rothschild is Vice President of Business Development at LPC. Prior to joining LPC, Beau served as a Chief of Staff on Capitol Hill and in senior staff positions for a number of committees, including the Committee on House Administration and with the House Republican Conference.