The 2015 Federal Budget’s Medical Marijuana Provision: An “End to the Federal Ban on Marijuana” or Something Less Than That?
In 2014, Congress began to face the nearly 20-year conflict between state medical marijuana laws and federal prohibition. It did so in a somewhat curious way, however--tacking on a rider to the 2015 federal budget to block the Department of Justice from spending money to “prevent” medical marijuana States from “implementing” their laws. Some news reports trumpeted the development as an “end” to the federal ban on marijuana. But the handful of court decisions to consider the 2015 budget provision so far suggest it might not have much effect at all on federal marijuana enforcement. This essay, written for the Northing Illinois University Law Review’s symposium on medical marijuana laws, examines the 2015 federal budget’s medical marijuana provision and offers an argument in favor of interpreting it broadly.