Press Release

Senator Gillibrand Announces Provision In Omnibus Appropriations Package That Would Prevent DOJ From Interfering With Implementation Of State Medical Marijuana Laws

Mar 27, 2018

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the inclusion of a provision in the Omnibus Appropriations package that will prohibit the use of federal funds by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to interfere with the implementation of states’ medical marijuana laws. Even though 29 states and the District of Columbia have made medical marijuana legal, marijuana in any form is still prohibited at the federal level.

“I am pleased that this provision is included in the Omnibus Appropriations package so that the Department of Justice cannot interfere with states’ rights to implement their medical marijuana laws,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Parents should be able to give their sick children the medicine they need without having to fear that they will be prosecuted. Veterans should be able to come home from combat and use the medicine they need without having to fear that they will be prosecuted. I will continue to urge my colleagues to pass my bipartisan legislation, the CARERS Act, so that the children and families who desperately need this medicine can finally access it without fear.”

In December of last year, Gillibrand led a letter with a bipartisan group of Senators calling on House and Senate leadership to include a provision in the Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations package to prevent the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using any funds to interfere with the implementation of states medical marijuana laws. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Steve Daines (R-MT) signed onto Gillibrand’s letter.

The text from Gillibrand’s letter is available here and below:

December 22, 2017

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader

U.S. Senate

317 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Charles Schumer

Democratic Leader

U.S. Senate

322 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Paul Ryan


U.S. House of Representatives

1233 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Democratic Leader

U.S. House of Representatives

233 Cannon House Office building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Leader Pelosi,

We write to express our support for the protection of states’ medical marijuana programs from interference by the federal government. We thank you for all of your past efforts on this issue, and ask that as you continue to work with the Appropriations Committees on a Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 appropriations bill to fund the government beyond January 19, 2018, you include the provision that protects medical marijuana laws in almost every state.

Since this provision was first passed in 2014, it has protected patients, providers, and businesses who are acting in compliance with their states’ laws from federal prosecution. These protections extend to 46 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, all of which have varying types of medical marijuana programs. Each year, this important provision has continuously garnered strong bipartisan support.

We respectfully urge you to include in the final FY18 Appropriations package the below language adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee in July by voice vote during its markup of the FY 18 CJS appropriations bill:

None of the funds made available under this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York,  North Carolina,  North  Dakota,  Ohio, Oklahoma,  Oregon,  Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont,  Virginia,  Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin,  and Wyoming,  or with respect to the  District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any such State or jurisdiction from implementing a law  that authorizes  the use, distribution,  possession,  or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.