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U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, issued a press release on Tuesday clarifying the importance of extending the existing safeguards that currently protect medical marijuana states and their patients into FY 2018.

Last Wednesday, Congress voted to protect medical marijuana through Dec. 8, 2017 – effectively blocking the Department of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting medical marijuana patients and businesses that lawfully operate in states where the medicinal herb is legal.

Though Rep. Blumenauer and Rohrabacher welcomed the passage of the debt limit deal, which included their provision, they were disappointed the bill passed by Congress didn’t grant the long-term protection many advocates had hoped for.

Made possible by the stunning compromise struck last week between President Donald J. Trump and the Democratic Congressional leaders, the fiscal sanctuary for medical marijuana states and their patients has been extended through Dec. 8, 2017.

Per the Blumenauer and Rohrabacher press release:

“While this action provides a measure of certainty for the millions of medical marijuana patients and the clinics and business that support them, much more needs to be done. More than 95 percent of Americans now have state-legal access to some form of medical marijuana. The American people have spoken, and Congress needs to hear them. Ultimately, we need permanent protections for state-legal medical marijuana programs, as well as adult-use. Prohibition is a failed policy resulting in nothing more than wasted resources and lives.”

As funding for FY 2018 remains up in the air, Blumenauer and Rohrabacher have worked diligently to solidify long-lasting protection for medical marijuana states and their patients in the upcoming budget.