Reflecting growing national acceptance of cannabis, a bipartisan coalition of House members voted to restrict the Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to go after medical marijuana operations that are legal under state laws.
An appropriations amendment offered by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) prohibiting the DEA from spending funds to arrest state-licensed medical marijuana patients and providers passed 219-189. The Senate will likely consider its own appropriations bill for the DEA, and the House amendment would have to survive a joint conference before it could go into effect.
Rohrabacher said on the House floor that the amendment “should be a no-brainer” for conservatives who support states’ rights and argued passionately against allowing the federal government to interfere with a doctor-patient relationship.
“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,” Rohrabacher said, his voice rising. “And that’s what’s happening.”.
The vote follows changing public sentiment toward the government’s failed war on drugs. A recent Pew survey found that 67 percent of Americans support drug policies that focus on providing treatment, rather than an arrest and prosecution. An overwhelming majority of Americans also support the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes — a recent CBS News poll found 86 percent think doctors should be able to prescribe marijuana to seriously ill patients.
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