As first reported by Marijuana Moment, the government funding proposal put forth by President Biden simultaneously contains both positive and negative aspects when it comes to marijuana policy reform efforts in the appropriations realm.
On one hand, unlike his predecessors from both parties, President Biden is the first sitting president to call for continued protections for medical cannabis programs, commonly referred to as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment. This language has been in effect since 2014 and included annually as part of the annual funding process but has never been requested by a Presidents proposed budget.
On the other hand, unlike when then-Vice President Biden was still a member of the Obama Administration, his new budget calls for a policy known as a “rider” which restricts the right of the government of DC to implement the will of its residents when it comes to setting up a legal and regulated cannabis marketplace. In a press release, DC Representative and cannabis policy reform champion Eleanor Holmes Norton said, “I am having a hard time reconciling the administration’s strong support for D.C. statehood, which would give D.C. not only voting representation in Congress but also full local self-government, with a budget that prohibits D.C. from spending its local funds on recreational marijuana commercialization. With Democrats controlling the White House, House and Senate, we have the best opportunity in over a decade to enact a D.C. appropriations bill that does not contain any anti-home-rule riders.”
NORML has put out a full memo on the state of the appropriations efforts pertaining to cannabis which can be found here.
Ultimately, the power to appropriate money lies with the Congress. We have made it simple and easy to contact your members of Congress to tell them a plain message: “Don’t Use Taxpayer Dollars To Shut Down Legalization!” Click here to send a message now.