By Dalton Rosario
Now that our nation’s 116th Congress has begun ramping up efforts for extending a pro-cannabis rider protecting states’ and U.S. territories’ medical marijuana programs from federal persecution, it comes to advocates as a shocking standstill that the proposed legislation barres Washington D.C. from investing capital towards regulatory infrastructure for legalizing adult cannabis use.
Incoming House Appropriations Chair, Nita Lowey (D), author of this rider includes in Section 537 of the proposed bill, “None of the funds made available under this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the  States… to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
Unapologetic tactics from the government shutdown representing a negotiation ploy by President Trump to secure funding for his campaign promise of a wall extending the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico has spread doubt and confusion about whether or not the Republican-controlled Senate is even willing to pass this Democratic bill to the executive office without it including provisions for funding Trump’s wall. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), author of the 2018 Farm Bill, and the Chamber’s Appropriations Committee Chair, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), have both casted doubt on voting favorably for a bill that the president would not support without first securing the Democratic-approved funding he seeks. On the other hand, if the Senate and House both approve this bill, and if it successfully gets signed into law by President Trump, nationwide programs supporting medicinal cannabis use would be protected from scrutiny by the Department of Justice and DEA.