Spending bill blocks interference with medical marijuana

(Updated) May 3, 2017 -- Medical marijuana would continue to be out of reach of Justice Department interference – at least until this fall -- as part of the spending package compromise agreed to in Congress this week and awaiting a final vote.

President Donald Trump has said he would sign the bipartisan $1.1 trillion measure, designed to keep the federal government open and operating until September.

The spending bill (approved by the House Wednesday; Senate approval is pending) extends an existing provision that blocks the Department of Justice from interfering with medical marijuana companies in states that have legalized the drug for medicinal purposes. The existing provisions expired with the previous government funding bill, which ended last Friday.

The medical marijuana budget provision  originally passed Congress in 2014, but must be renewed each year in the government spending bill.

Additionally, the funding bill also carves out room for researchers to study industrial hemp.