Late Thursday night, the House of Representatives told the DEA to butt out of medical marijuana states by approving a budget amendment barring the use of taxpayer funds to do so.
Wow, things are changing fast. Efforts to pass similar amendments have never come close in previous years–the previous best was 165 yea votes in 2007–but the amendment passed by 30 votes tonight.
Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority is liking what he's seeing:
"This historic vote shows just how quickly marijuana reform has become a mainstream issue," he said. "The last time a similar amendment came up it didn't come very close to passing but, since then, more states have passed medical marijuana laws and a couple have even legalized marijuana for all adults. More states are on this way later this year and in 2016, and it's clear that more politicians are beginning to realize that the American people want the federal government to stop standing in the way. If any political observers weren't aware that the end of the war on marijuana is nearing, they just found out."
It ain't a done deal just yet, though. If the Senate version of the bill doesn't contain similar language, it will be up to the House leadership to fight for the amendment (or not) in conference committee.
Still, this is historic. I like it when we make history like this. And it seems to be happening more often these days.
Angell also makes another astute point. While we can grumble about the spate of what I call "limited CBD medical marijuana bills," and how they are so extremely restrictive, they have also spread the medical marijuana meme to places where it hadn't thrived before, like the Deep South. And that could be paying off in congressional votes like this one.
"This year's huge vote increase can largely be attributed to the fact that lawmakers only recently began hearing the moving stories of the many children whose severe seizures are only relieved by marijuana. Being able to list these CBD states in the amendment text meant that more members of Congress that represent these states voted yes than otherwise would have. Counting these states, 60 percent of the U.S. population lives in a place where state law disagrees with federal law."
– Article originally from Stop the Drug War, used with permission.