Victory! US Congress ends war on medical marijuana
In a landmark moment for cannabis law reform, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure late Thursday night to de-fund the federal war on medical marijuana. The provision passed the Senate Saturday and went to the White House Monday, where it is expected to be signed by President Obama, bringing a halt to the three-year-long medi-pot crackdown in California and other states.
The Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment to the $1.1 trillion cromnibus spending bill blocks the use of Department of Justice funds to “prevent [medical marijuana states] from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
The vast majority of Americans (78 percent) support states’ right to allow access to medical cannabis.
The spending bill also contains a provision aimed at Washington DC legalization. The rider inserted by Republican Maryland Rep. Harris would prevent federal funds from being used to “enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) or any tetrahydrocannabinols derivative.”
District activists say they will litigate the Harris rider.
Marijuana law reform advocates cheered the return of the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment last week, calling it a “stunning victory.”
“For the first time, Congress is letting states set their own medical marijuana and hemp policies, a huge step forward for sensible drug policy,” stated Bill Piper, director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s office of national affairs. “States will continue to reform their marijuana laws and Congress will be forced to accommodate them. It’s not a question of if, but when, federal marijuana prohibition will be repealed.”