By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The United States House of Representatives passed a bill preventing federal prosecutions against patients who use prescribed marijuana and cultivation where it is legal in the various states. If passed by the Senate and signed by the President it would mark a profound reversal in federal marijuana policy.
The House voted 219-189 in favor to an amendment of an appropriations bill. The amendment strips the Department of Justice of all funds for enforcing marijuana laws in states where medical marijuana is legal. This would not only include the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) but all other agencies as well as DOJ prosecutions, theoretically if signed into law prosecutions already in process must halt as well. With the recent signature by Minnesota’s governor, twenty two states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana statutes.
During debate on the House floor, California Representative Dana Rohrabacher called for compassion, saying: “Some people are suffering, and if a doctor feels that he needs to prescribe something to alleviate that suffering, it is immoral for this government to get in the way.”
In addition, the House also passed two amendments that would strip funds in federal intervention of state hemp cultivation and research.
Aaron Houston, a marijuana lobbyist and advocate, called the vote a “tipping point” on marijuana. He noted that this amendment has been offered six times before over the course of 11 years and never before gained traction.
Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell stated “It’s clear that more politicians are beginning to realize that the American people want the federal government to stop standing in the way. If any political observers weren’t aware that the end of the war on marijuana is nearing, they just found out.”
It seems inertia is now favoring the end of Refer Madness.
By Darren Smith
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