Medical Cannabis

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Trump Attempting to End Medical Marijuana Protections with Budget Proposal

February 13, 2020

An existing policy may be axed by President Trump’s new budget proposal that allows the Justice Department to interfere with state medical cannabis programs. The rider states that the Justice Department cannot use its funds to prevent states or territories from implementing their own cannabis laws in regards to use, distribution, possession, or cultivation. 

D.C. Blocked from Legalizing Cannabis

When President Trump signed that large-scale spending legislation in December, he attached a statement that he feels empowered to ignore the congressionally approved medical cannabis rider. Cannabis was mentioned multiple times in the new budget proposal, including a long-standing rider that blocks D.C. from using local tax dollars to legalize cannabis sales. 

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) would take a hit under the new budget proposal. If enacted, the budget would go from $425 million to just $29 milion for 2021. That is an approximate cut of 90 percent. 

ONDCP Director Jim Carroll explained that, “Whether it is going after drug traffickers, getting people struggling with addiction the help they need, or stopping drug misuse before it starts, this budget request ensures our partners will have the resources needed to create safer and healthier communities across the Nation.”

Some of the money would be transferred to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) while some will go to the Department of Health and Human Services. The budget will prioritize the funding for a domestic hemp program since the crop has been federally legalized.

FDA Seeks Funding for Research

The plan suggests funds should be set aside to help the FDA invest in cannabis regulation and research. Currently dealing with developing CBD regulations, the FDA has had to play catch up since the 2018 Farm Bill. Once approved, CBD products began flooding the shelves with limited procedures-if any– for proper research and regulations. 

The vast growing market continues to outpace the research into public health concerns and the expanding illicit market. The agency has requested funds–in the amount of $5 million dollars–to continue to protect the laws that help patients and the public alike. 

Moreover, this step would put them on the regulatory pathways, and the proposed funds would be allocated to the four different branches within the FDA.