State implementation of medical marijuana laws are safe from interference from the Department of Justice until September 30th of this year. In a highly anticipated move, Congress extended the protections of the well-known “Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment” (the “Amendment”) last week. This action, important politically and legally, comes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions threw the state-legal cannabis industry into a fit when he rescinded the Obama-era Cole Memo — he has provided further guidance since then, but it’s not very illuminating for state-legal marijuana businesses. But what impact does the Amendment really have? It could be significant over the coming months, though I am sure Sessions and other U.S. Attorneys may seek to undermine the spirit of that law as time goes on.
The Amendment first passed back in 2014, and has been consistently renewed and extended by Congress in the form of budget riders (and this last one is around 2,200 pages). The Amendment has been construed as stopping the federal government from prosecuting medical cannabis operators acting in full compliance with state law, but no court outside of the Ninth