Forty-four members of the U.S. House of Representatives recently signed and sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee in support of building upon existing policy for legalized state medical marijuana programs and expanded protections for the retail marijuana programs in effect in 17 states.

The letter, led by co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus Earl Blumenauer and Barbara Lee, alongside Tom McClintock, Eleanor Holmes Norton and 40 other Representatives begins, “As you prepare the fiscal year (FY) 2022 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, we respectfully request that you include language barring the Department of Justice from prosecuting those who comply with their state or tribal marijuana laws. We also request that you maintain the current language barring the Department of Justice from prosecuting those who comply with their state’s medical marijuana laws.”

Honoring the Rights of States and Tribes

The letter continues by saying, “To date, 48 states have enacted laws that, to varying degrees, relax their prohibitions against the use of marijuana or its components, such as CBD oil. Of those, 36 states have medical marijuana programs, and 17 of those have adult-use programs. Most of these laws were decided by ballot initiatives. We believe that the federal government should not interfere with these programs and the will of the citizens of these states.

Additionally, as states increasingly establish state-legal marijuana programs, tribes continue to face uncertainty with respect to federal guidance on marijuana. We believe that the federal government should provide clarity and respect the sovereignty and will of Indian tribes should they choose to enact marijuana laws in the same way that most of states hAlave now done.”

The letter then suggests specific language to include in the draft of the appropriations bill. The suggested language is similar to language that was supported by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019 and again in 2020.

Bipartisan Support

Although not many topics in the government foster bipartisan support, this one appears to. Signers of the letter include Ken Buck (R-CO), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), among others.

The letter was sent to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Matt Cartwright and Ranking Member Robert Aderholt.


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