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Congress ended the federal ban on medical marijuana

Almost twenty years of federal-state tension over the legalization of medical marijuana has been ended by the Cromnibus spending bill; the federal ban on medical marijuana has been officially repealed.

In a spending bill that also saw DC’s legalization of marijuana severely if not wholly curtailed, a provision was passed saying that states with legalized medical marijuana would no longer have to worry about potential raids by the DEA. Specifically, the federal government is banned from using any of its resources to impede the medical marijuana laws of the states. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), co-author of the measure along with Rep Sam Farr (D-CA), told the Los Angeles Times┬áthat this was “the first time in decades that the federal government has curtailed its oppressive prohibition of marijuana.”

Since the 1990s, 32 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. This measure, however, represents a major break with past Congressional policy on the matter. In an action similar to it’s overruling of 2014’s Initiative 71, Congress prevented DC’s 1998 legalization of medical marijuana from going into effect for 11 years.

Congress is largely behind the times in regards to attitudes towards medical marijuana; the LA Times wrote that “they [Republicans] favor allowing marijuana for medical use by a commanding majority.” This measure also follows the lead of the Obama administration, which had stopped enforcing federal laws on medical marijuana vis-a-vis the states.

Growers and dispensaries operating legally in the 32 states with legalized medical marijuana no longer have to fear the prospect of law enforcement ruining their livelihoods, and, for pro-legalization advocates, this measure may represent yet another step towards the full legalization of marijuana for all purposes.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Brad Matthews

Brad Matthews is the Digital Content Coordinator intern for Watchdog Wire. Twitter is @bradmatthewsDC

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Categories: Healthcare, Must Read, Regulation

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