The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a measure that prevents the federal government from meddling with state medical marijuana programs, advocates said.
An amendment to the House version of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, prohibits the U.S. Justice Department — including the Drug Enforcement Administration — from using federal money to meddle with state laws that allow the farming and selling of medical marijuana, advocates said.
“Votes in support of rolling back the federal government’s war on medical marijuana are beginning to become routine. Last year, passing this amendment was unprecedented. This year, it was predictable. Medical marijuana has gone from ‘controversial’ to ‘conventional’ on Capitol Hill,” Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement.
“This is an important amendment because it addresses the tension between state and federal marijuana law. We welcome it as a temporary fix, but what we really need is a comprehensive and more permanent solution. It’s time for Congress to pass legislation that ends prohibition at the federal level and allows states to determine their own marijuana policies.”
Riffle’s position is showing increasing traction at the legislative level.
“The 242-186 vote showed significant gains in support over last year’s historically successful vote on the same amendment, which totaled 219-189,” the National Cannabis Industry Association said in a statement.
“Last year, Congress made history with the first-ever federal protections for medical marijuana caregivers and patients, and NCIA is happy to see that progress continue,” said National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith. “This is an issue with overwhelming bipartisan support throughout the nation, and it’s good to see that the House recognizes that it should respect the will of the American people in this way.”