In summary

At the Trump administration’s urging, Congress has rattled California’s medical marijuana industry by at least temporarily endangering a key protection against federal prosecution of medicinal pot.

At the Trump administration’s urging, Congress has rattled California’s medical marijuana industry by at least temporarily endangering a key protection against federal prosecution of medicinal pot.

The U.S. House Rules Committee yesterday blocked a vote on the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, a vital legal protection attached to the federal budget that prohibits the Justice Department from using any resources to interfere in state-sanctioned medical marijuana activities. California has allowed medical marijuana since the mid-1990’s.

The Trump administration’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions—a longtime opponent of marijuana who once likened the drug to heroin—urged Congress back in May to eliminate the amendment, which has been attached to federal spending bills since 2014.  As a result of the committee’s actions, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will not vote on the provision as part of a broader federal spending package. The amendment has received widespread bipartisan support in the past.

States like California don’t have to panic just yet, however. The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment remains attached to the Senate budget bill. When both chambers send members to reconcile the Senate and House versions of the budget, they might opt to let it survive.

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Matt Levin is the data and housing dude for CalMatters. His work entails distilling complex policy topics into easily digestible charts and graphs, finding and writing original stories from data, yelling...