A spending bill amendment that will continue to prohibit the federal government from interfering with state medical marijuana laws passed the House on Wednesday. A previous version of the provision, which was passed as part of the so-called cromnibus spending bill in December, would have expired in September.
The provision limits spending by U.S. agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration, from using funds to go after state marijuana laws that allow for medicinal use, possession and distribution of marijuana. It had been introduced eight times since 2003, but last year was the first time it made it through Congress.
“Votes in support of rolling back the federal government’s war on medical marijuana are beginning to become routine,” said Dan Riffle, director for federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, a group that works to reform marijuana policy, in a statement. “Last year, passing this amendment was unprecedented. This year, it was predictable. Medical marijuana has gone from ‘controversial’ to ‘conventional’ on Capitol Hill.”
The overall spending bill would provide $51 billion in funding for the Justice and Commerce departments, as well as science agencies. It has received a veto threat from the White House, which has said the Republican budget framework in motion “drastically underfunds critical investments in research and development.”
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