The House of Representatives has voted to stop the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from using its funds to combat medical marijuana businesses and patients in states where medical marijuana is legal.
The Senate will probably consider its own appropriations bill for the DEA, and the House amendment will likely have to survive a joint conference before it can go into effect. But the amendment is expected to pass.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher mentioned on the House floor that the amendment “should be a no-brainer” for conservatives that support their state’s rights and are against allowing the federal government to interfere with doctor-patient relationships.
“Some people are suffering, and if a doctor feels that he needs to prescribe something to alleviate that suffering, it is immoral for this government to get in the way,” said Rohrabacher.
The Obama administration, the DEA and a few U.S. attorneys have been actively raiding marijuana dispensaries that were fully complying with their state’s laws. The DEA still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance implying that it has “no accepted medical use.” Furthermore, the agency has started an aggressive public relations campaign to diminish marijuana’s medicinal benefits.
There are currently 22 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized marijuana for medical use. Five other states – Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Utah, and Wisconsin – have legalized cannabidiol (CBD) oils, the non-psychoactive substance in marijuana that provides relief from epilepsy and other medical conditions.
This weeks vote follows the public’s changing sentiment toward the failed war on drugs. A recent survey found that 67 percent of Americans support drug policies that aim to provide treatment, rather than an arrest and prosecution. And an overwhelming majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. A recent CBS News poll found 86 percent of Americans think doctors should be able to prescribe marijuana to seriously ill patients.