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Congress rolled a major victory for medical marijuana in a spending bill

December 18, 2014

By Elizabeth Lopatto : theverge – excerpt – video links

The 2015 spending bill contains a provision that says no federal funds may be used to prevent states from enforcing their own medical marijuana laws.

Inside the fiscal 2015 spending bill — yes, the one that’s 1,603 pages long — is a measure that prevents the federal government from interfering with states that have allowed medical marijuana or allow the  drug entirely. Federal agents are now prohibited from raiding marijuana retail operations.

Sound too good to be true? Here are the relevant sections:

Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration…

As you can see from the above — taken from the text of the bill H.R. 83 — it’s not just medical marijuana users who can feel safer. The bill also protects hemp farmers; in Colorado last year, farmers harvested the very first hemp crop since the 1950s… (more)

RELATED:

Victory: Congress ends war on medical marijuana  : sfgate.com

In a landmark moment for cannabis law reform, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure late Thursday night to de-fund the federal war on medical marijuana. The provision passed the Senate Saturday and went to the White House Monday, where it is expected to be signed by President Obama, bringing a halt to the three-year-long medi-pot crackdown in California and other states.

The Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment to the $1.1 trillion cromnibus spending bill blocks the use of Department of Justice funds to “prevent [medical marijuana states] from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

The vast majority of Americans (78 percent) support states’ right to allow access to medical cannabis… (more)

RELATED:

Colorado funds medical marijuana research, a first 
New frontier: Colorado dedicates $8M for medical marijuana research to understand benefits…

DENVER (AP) — Colorado will spend more than $8 million researching marijuana’s medical potential — a new frontier because government-funded marijuana research traditionally focuses on the drug’s negative health effects.

The grants awarded by the Colorado Board of Health will go to studies on whether marijuana helps treat epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of the studies still need federal approval.

Though the awards are relatively small, researchers say they’re a big step forward. While several other federal studies currently in the works look at marijuana’s health effects, all the Colorado studies are focused on whether marijuana actually helps.

“This is the first time we’ve had government money to look at the efficacy of marijuana, not the harms of marijuana,” said Dr. Suzanne Sisley, a Scottsdale, Arizona, psychiatrist who will help run a study on marijuana for veterans with PTSD. Sisley plans to do her research in private practice after previously working for the University of Arizona… (more)

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2016 Election: California set to become next front in pot-legalization wars
Los Angeles Stops Home Delivery of Legal Goods–Medicinal Marijuana
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