The 2016 spending bill approved last week by U.S. Congress and signed late Friday by President Barack Obama included a measure that effectively ended the federal ban on medical marijuana and paves the way for significant reforms of the war on drugs.
“For decades Congress has been responsible for passing disastrous drug laws,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “It’s encouraging to see them starting to roll back the war on drugs by allowing states to set their own medical marijuana policies.”
One provision prevents the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from spending money to interfere with state laws on medical marijuana. The amendment, sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA), was passed on a temporary basis earlier this year and was up for renewal in the 2016 budget.
By approving it within the omnibus bill, Congress has codified the order into law.
“Patients who benefit from medical marijuana should not be treated like dangerous criminals, and the businesses that support them need to be protected from the old drug war mentality that still runs deep within the DEA,” said Neill Frankin, executive director at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “It’s very encouraging to see such widespread support for protecting state’s rights and the rights of patients.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) added, “The federal government should never get in between patients and their medicine.”
The impact could be significant in states where the DOJ and DEA continued to raid dispensaries even after the passage of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prohibited them from interfering with states that complied with local regulations on medical marijuana. In October, a federal court in California ruled that the DOJ and the DEA violated the law when they ransacked and shut down several medical marijuana providers in the state. Judge Charles Breyer of the U.S. District Court in northern California slammed the agencies for their loose interpretation of the amendment, which they claimed only blocked the DEA from challenging state laws, not from prosecuting individuals or businesses.
That decision, along with some pending cases, gives drug reform campaigners hope that the agencies will adhere to the new law and give up attempts to circumvent it.
“The war on medical marijuana is over. Now the fight moves on to legalization of all marijuana.”
—Bill Piper, Drug Policy Alliance
Click Here: Maori All Blacks Store
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT