How Trump Government Shutdown Threat Could Have an effect on Marijuana


President Donald Trump is threatening to shut down the government if Democrats refuse billions of dollars in funding for a border wall — but the consequences of that action would extend far beyond border safety.

If the president tends to make great on his guarantee to withhold his signature from important appropriations bills this time, that could inadvertently leave the legal marijuana business vulnerable to federal drug enforcement actions. A spending bill rider that has protected state health-related cannabis applications from federal intervention considering that 2014 would expire, though the Justice Division and prosecutors would usually stay operational.

That is since the Division of Justice has a contingency program in spot in the occasion of a government shutdown, and it exempts numerous workers, which includes U.S. attorneys and these who perform for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), from furlough.

“Criminal litigation will continue with no interruption as an activity important to the security of human life and the protection of home,” the Justice Division explains in its contingency program. U.S. attorneys are protected since they’re presidentially appointed and “are required to address ongoing criminal matters and civil matters of urgency all through the nation.”

“All agents in DEA field organizations are excepted from furlough since they assistance active counternarcotics investigations,” the document says.

The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment would not be exempted, even though. The legislation — which bars the Justice Division from making use of federal funds to interfere with state health-related cannabis laws — is portion of the the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Associated Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill. Although 5 out of the 12 annual appropriation bills for Fiscal Year 2019 have currently been signed into law by the president, the CJS bill is but to acquire Home of Senate floor votes.

Commonly, the deadline to get appropriations passed is the finish of the preceding fiscal year, September 30. But rather than hold a vote or permit federal departments to shed funding, lawmakers have passed a series of continuing resolutions all through 2018, giving short-term funding and pushing back the deadline. The most current two-week continuing resolution passed on December 7, so the new deadline is December 21.

If lawmakers do not pass, or President Trump does not sign, either a complete-year or short-term extension of funding by then, the health-related cannabis rider will expire, but federal drug enforcement capabilities will not. And that would leave health-related marijuana sufferers and the enterprises that serve them in a dicey position.

Comparable issues about the prospect of federal marijuana enforcement have been repeatedly raised beneath the Trump administration. In January 2018, items seemed particularly precarious, as the president’s threat of a government shutdown came weeks soon after then-Lawyer Basic Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era memo that supplied guidance on federal cannabis enforcement practices.

That selection stoked fears that a shutdown would empower the Justice Division to act on the lawyer general’s vehement opposition to marijuana reform. But soon after much less than 3 days, a continuing resolution passed and state-legal marijuana activities continued unimpeded.

This time about, as the deadline approaches, the Justice Division head is Acting Lawyer Basic Matthew Whitaker, who had served as Sessions’ chief of employees. Whitaker has stated he sympathizes with health-related cannabis sufferers, but he’s also criticized the Obama administration for its marijuana enforcement policies.

There’s no telling at this point regardless of whether Whitaker, the DEA or federal prosecutors would take benefit of broad exemptions from furlough and crack down on legal health-related marijuana states in the occasion of a shutdown. But as constantly, the possibility puts the cannabis business in an uncomfortable position.

This write-up has been republished from Marijuana Moment beneath a content material syndication agreement. Study the original write-up right here.


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