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POLITICS: Federal Marijuana Protections And Other Drug Policy Provisions Approved In New Spending Bills

A powerful House committee on Thursday approved spending bills and related reports that touch on a wide range of marijuana and drug policy issues—including calls to remove roadblocks to research into cannabis, noting the lifesaving potential of safe consumption sites for illegal substances, recognizing the painkilling promise of the kratom plant and urging the development of technology to detect impairment from THC.

Importantly, the legislation that cleared the House Appropriations Committee would also maintain an existing provision that shields state medical marijuana laws from intervention by the Justice Department.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, thanked committee leadership on Thursday for “including important language that would prohibit the Department of Justice from interfering in access to medical marijuana in states, the District of Columbia and territories where it is legal.”

“This language is critical to ensuring that the federal government doesn’t preempt what states are doing,” she said.