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Money is restricted when it comes to federal enforcement against medical marijuana, but that law is about to expire

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded policy restricting federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states where it was legal

CNN  — 

January 19 is when more than 1.2 million patients legally using medical marijuana will be watching Congress with great concern.

That’s when the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment will expire. The amendment essentially stops the Justice Department from spending any federal dollars on prosecuting cannabis-related activities if those activities are allowed under state medical marijuana laws.

The amendment was extended in the spending bill in December, but unless Congress slips it into another federal spending bill and can pass it before the law expires, the legislative action that US Attorney General Jeff Sessions took Thursday may have a real impact on people who sell or buy medical marijuana.

Sessions rescinded three memos that relate to federal law enforcement of marijuana laws, the last of which, popularly known as the Cole memo, was 2013 guidance that essentially told the government to back off federal prosecutions of people operating within state marijuana laws.

In the majority of states – 29 – medical marijuana is legal to varying degrees, and eight states allow recreational sales.

Raids of medical marijuana establishments continued after the memos went out, but the amendment put an end to those raids and to other federal efforts to shut down licensed medical dispensaries.