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Status Update: Federal Government and State Marijuana Law

Federal Marijuana Law Changing?

The wheels of justice grind slowly…. or so goes the old saying. But it is true more often than not. And certainly in cases where the federal government is working to catch up with state marijuana law. And this is no more apparent than when it comes to the issue of medical marijuana law. But regardless of how slowly they may be turning, there is indeed progress being made.

Just this year, a host of marijuana amendments have been addressed by the federal government. One such bill would significantly limit the Department of Justice in its fight with certain states over their enforcement of local marijuana laws. In addition, the Veterans Equal Access Act was introduced, which would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana treatments to veterans in states where marijuana is already legal.

There are currently twenty-three states in the U.S. that now permit the use of medical marijuana in some form or another. Additionally, four states now also regulate the production and sale of recreational marijuana for all adults. As more and more states turn their backs on federal regulations, the U.S. government has little choice but to adjust their outlook on the issue of marijuana law.

Some current issues either under review, or already accepted, by the U.S. Senate and House are as follows:

  • House Resolution 667, also known as the Veterans Equal Access Act, would allow VA doctors to legally recommend cannabis therapy to veterans living in states that already allow for its therapeutic use. This bill has 17 co-sponsors and is awaiting action before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
  • The Rohrabacher-Farr Medical Marijuana Amendment to the CJS appropriations bill, which dictates how the Department of Justice may spend it’s money. The amendment would prohibit the DOJ from using federal funds to interfere with any states’ local medical marijuana laws. The DOJ’s funding bill is voted on annually, and this same amendment passed last year. This amendment was passed 219 – 189.
  • Another amendment to the CJS appropriations bill would forbid the DOJ from interfering with state’s local recreational marijuana laws, in addition to any existing medical marijuana laws. While this amendment did not pass, the tide does appear to be slowly shifting.
  • Yet another amendment would protect any existing state hemp laws from the DOJ’s interference, which would pave the way for hemp farmers hoping to establish themselves in the U.S. Hemp is used in the production of paper, rope, textiles and even skin care products. It has no intoxicating effects whatsoever. This amendment was passed 237 – 170.

We applaud the U.S. House and Senate for their actions regarding marijuana law.  It’s about time the federal government lined up with We the People.

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