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Friday, December 19, 2014

Measure Ends Medical Marijuana Prohibition

The medical marijuana movement in America, arguably, began when California citizens passed Proposition 215, making it legal to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. Since that time, 32 other states and Washington D.C. passed similar legislation despite the drug's continued illegal classification and the federal government's stance that the drug holds no medical value. While the drug is, under state law, considered legal for medical purposes, federal agencies over the years have raided countless dispensaries and marijuana farms, essentially overruling state laws.

Today, with four states legalizing marijuana and more to follow in the coming years, the federal government is relaxing its stance on the drug. Over the weekend, a federal spending measure was passed that will end the federal government’s prohibition on medical marijuana in states where it is legal, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Within the 1,603-page spending bill, there is a provision which strictly prohibits federal drug agents from raiding retail marijuana operations, and President Obama plans to sign the bill this week, according to the article.

The provision had bipartisan backing, with six Republican and six Democratic co-signers, according to a press release from the office of co-author California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

“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.

With the fight for states' rights on medical marijuana coming to an end, efforts will begin to shift towards nationwide legalization of the drug.

"The war on medical marijuana is over," said Bill Piper, a lobbyist with the Drug Policy Alliance, who called the move historic. "Now the fight moves on to legalization of all marijuana," he said. "This is the strongest signal we have received from Congress [that] the politics have really shifted. ... Congress has been slow to catch up with the states and American people, but it is catching up."

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