The Senate’s approval followed the passing of the bill by the House of Representatives on Thursday. The bill was passed with a vote of 63-36. The White House issued a statement that President Obama signed the measure shortly following the Senate’s approval.

The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment was included in this new budget legislation. The amendment has protected state medical cannabis programs since it was signed into law on December 18, 2015. This is because the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment forbids the federal government from spending money toward an action that could interfere with state-level medical cannabis programs.

Now that Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment remains a law until April 28, 2017, medical cannabis programs, in addition to businesses and patients that are in compliance with respective laws will be protected. This may come as a temporary sigh of relief from those in the cannabis industry who are worried about President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for the next United States Attorney General, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. Sessions has been vocal in his extreme opposition of cannabis legalization.

United States Representative from California, Dana Rohrabacher, helped to draft the Amendment. Rohrabacher told CULTURE in October that he expected this December vote would continue to protect medical cannabis patients.


“We’re keeping the status quo, but we changed the status quo three years ago. And since then, there’s been court decisions backing up the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment,” Rohrabacher said. “Thus indeed, that is the law of the land now, and that will continue to be the law of the land, I’m sure through the vote that we had last night, but also the votes that we will have in November and December. Nobody has to worry, but we all have to get to work. Because where it’s at is better than it was, but it’s nowhere near where it should be.”

On April 28, the bill will have two options to become extended. It will need to pass as a stand-alone bill, or it must once again be included in the spending bill in order to continue protecting the medical cannabis industry from the federal government.
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