In the big old clusterbuck that is Washington, D.C. in 2017, Republican President Donald Trump made a surprise deal with Democratic leaders, and he probably didn’t even realize that deal is going to keep medical marijuana protected from the federal government for at least a while longer.
The fun started on Wednesday, when Republican congressional leaders Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Kevin McCarthy came to the White House with a plan to increase the country’s debt limit for another 18 months. That proposal would have saved Republicans a lot of grief since it would have put off sorting out debt ceiling troubles until after midterm elections.
But to the surprise of many, Tricky Trump instead sided with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, opting for a mere three-month debt limit extension, a proposal which Paul Ryan had called “ridiculous” and “disgraceful.” The President’s move led The Guardian to call Wednesday “Trump’s day as a democratic president.”
Almost as surprising as our 45th President siding against his own party seemingly out of spite is the fact his deal also protected medical marijuana from federal government, after months of his an administration working hard to undermine state-run cannabis programs.
The spending bill which was approved by Trump and by Congress on Friday, attached to a Hurricane Harvey disaster relief measure, also maintains the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer provision, a rule which prohibits the Justice Department from using federal money to go after state-legalized marijuana operations.
Rohrabacher-Blumenauer was considered in jeopardy only last week when a House Rules Committee blocked the provision from being considered for inclusion in the 2018 spending bill. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has also asked Congress directly to go after state-licensed marijuana providers and seems to be mounting some kind of case against states with legalized recreational weed.
Friday’s new spending bill will protect medical cannabis and Rohrabacher-Blumenauer for about as long as it will keep the federal government funded, until early December.
“We have at least three months of certainty now, but the fight isn’t over,” a representative of Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, told The Cannabist.
And that’s how Trump accidentally walked ass-backwards into protecting medical marijuana. Remember it so you can tell your grandkids.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons