In yet another major victory for marijuana reform, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment that would protect state-legalized medical marijuana operations from federal crackdowns.
The amendment passed by a vote of 22-8 and mirrors one that passed in the House last week 242-186. Essentially, it blocks the Department of Justice – which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration – from using funds to interfere with state-legalized medical marijuana programs.
The committee’s passage of the amendment also follows its approval of a historic measure from May that would allow Department of Veteran Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their veteran patients.
There is still some road to travel before the medical marijuana amendment becomes law. President Barack Obama still has to sign the bill, and has threatened to veto this bill along with others. But if the bills are vetoed, the medical marijuana protections are still likely to make it into a larger bill later this year because it appears in both the House and Senate versions of the bill.
“This is another resounding victory for medical marijuana patients, their families and their care providers,” said the director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Congress is making it clear that the Department of Justice and the DEA have no business interfering in state medical marijuana laws.”