Is the “War on Medical Marijuana” Finally Over?: Decades Long Federal Government Ban on Medical Cannabis Finally Lifted by Congress
For those who haven’t heard, the big news out Washington D.C. this past week is the passing of a $1.1 trillion federal spending bill.
Although some might say congressional action is surprising in its own right, the real shock was buried deep in the 1,600-page bill in the form of small provision prohibiting federal agents from targeting medical marijuana retailers, producers and patients in the states where it has been legalized.
The medical marijuana movement began in the early 1990s, and marijuana advocates have been pushing back against the federal government’s bans on using cannabis to treat chronic illnesses and ailments ever since.
In recent years, support for medical marijuana has increased nationally with the legalization of medical marijuana in 32 states and Washington D.C. However, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), who continues to view marijuana as more dangerous than cocaine, has frequently oppressed medical dispensaries with raids.
Under this broader decimalization provision, though, medical cannabis dispensaries can rest easy in the knowledge that it is now illegal for federal agents to use taxpayer dollars to raid medical marijuana operations with state approval.
Two California congressmen, Sam Farr (Democrat) and Dana Rohrabacher (Republican), were responsible for the bipartisan amendment that effectively signaled the end of nearly two decades of conflict between the states and the Fed over medical cannabis use.
“This is a victory for so many, including scores of our wounded veterans, who have found marijuana to be an important medicine for some of the ailments they suffer, such as PTSD, epilepsy, and MS,” Rohrabacher said in a statement.
Pending presidential approval, which Obama is expected to give sometime this week, the so-called “Cromnibus” bill will mark an historic shift in the federal drug policy, and as some believe, the start of a new era for medical cannabis.
“The war on medical marijuana is over,” Drug Policy Alliance lobbyist Bill Piper told news sources. “Now the fight moves on to legalization of all marijuana. This is the strongest signal we have received from Congress [that] the politics have really shifted.”
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