On January 22, 2018, Congress came to an agreement on a resolution that continues funding the government, including the Department of Justice, through February 8, 2018. The funding resolution leaves in place protections for state medical marijuana programs from prosecutions by the Department of Justice by restricting its funding. The protections are found in legislation now sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Earl Blumenauer (formerly by Sam Farr instead of Blumenauer) that became law as part of the omnibus spending bill (and are known as the Rohrabacher- Farr Amendment, or the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment).
The Amendment provides that none of the funds made available to the Department of Justice in the Appropriations Act may be used to prevent states from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. In light of recent steps taken by the administration to rescind the Cole Memo and review the FinCEN guidelines that have put the cannabis industry on alert, cannabis businesses can find some comfort, albeit temporary, in Congress’ continuing limitation on the funding extended for the Department of Justice.