Monday, September 25, 2023
Katie Potrzeboski (Ohio State University (OSU), Michael E. Moritz College of Law, Students) has posted The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment Does Not Go Far Enough: In an Attempt to Provide State-Compliant Participants with Protection from Federal Government Interference, Congress Came Up Short (Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, No. 72, September 2023) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Although Congress attempted to provide marijuana businesses and users with protection from federal government interference and prosecution, the signing of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, as an amendment to the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, has elicited a mixed response as to its effectiveness. These concerns stem from Congress structuring the Amendment as a limitation appropriation rider and using ambiguous language regarding its’ scope. Questions included whether Congress intended for the Amendment to only protect a state’s ability to create legal cannabis programs, pass cannabis regulations, and provide licenses to patients, distributors, and cultivation centers, or whether they also intended for the protection to extend to individuals and businesses operating under their state’s laws and regulations. Congress’ perceived efforts to indirectly decriminalize certain cannabis-related activities through spending bills has only increased the uncertainty of cannabis operations across the country, as evidenced by emerging circuit splits, namely decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit and First Circuit. Although potentially well-intended, Congress’ decision to address medical marijuana reform through an ambiguous appropriation rider rather than federal legalization through standalone legislation has only muddied the waters of an already complex, burdensome, and uncertain industry for businesses and individuals, alike.