In light of the still on-going pandemic and stay-at-home orders, the bill that allowed the most recent stimulus package was designed to aid the working class for their needs alone and not for cannabis advocacy purposes, said the High Times. In the page 647 of the stimulus bill, Congress made sure that the funds will not be able to push pro-cannabis agendas.
The General Provisions for the District of Columbia highlights where the funds from the stimulus package can be allocated to. In part 1085 of the Stimulus Bill, it said, “Sec. 509 (a) None of the funds made available in this act may be used for any activity that promotes the legalization of any drug or substances included in the schedule 1 of the schedules of controlled substances established under section 2020 of the Controlled Substances Act except for normal and recognized executive-congressional communications.”
Sec. 509 (b) also noted that this restriction does not apply “when there is significant medical evidence of therapeutic advantage to the use of such drug or other substance or that federally sponsored clinical trials are being conducted to determine therapeutic advantage.”
This is not the first time that Congress worked to block pro-marijuana activities in DC since the 2014 ballot initiative’s success. While lawmakers allowed delivery of cannabis products as part of the industry’s essential services, the provisions cited above is evidently an effort to prevent more push toward the implementation of a legalized marijuana market in DC.
According to Section 809 (a), “None of the federal funds contained in this act may be used to carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Or any tetrahydrocannabinols derivative.”
It further stated in (b) that, “No Funds available for obligation or expenditure by the District of Columbia government under any authority may be used to enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act or any tetrahydrocannabinols derivative for recreational purposes.”
NORML associate director Paul Armentano told the High Times that the use of language in those bills are open to different types of interpretation. It can apply broadly or narrowly depending on how the reader understands the language. According to Armentano the term federally sponsored clinal trial is arguable as there are several things that can be considered as being under this term.
One point of contention is the fact that many clinical trials are approached by federal agencies but are paid for by state governments. In this angle, the trials can be seen as a state-sponsored one, which brings it outside of the restrictions outlined by the bills.
Nevertheless, the High Times noted that the money from the Stimulus Bill will have been already consumed by the time any entity procures the right documentation to use the $600 for marijuana-related purposes.