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U.S. House Passes Pro-Medical Marijuana Amendments

Brett Levin
Flickr - Creative Commons

A majority of the U.S. House of Representatives passed three amendments to an appropriations bill that could change how the government deals with medical marijuana and industrial hemp in Colorado and other states where the practices are legal.

Colorado Democratic Representative Jared Polis said while the amendments have little chance of becoming law, it’s the first time a majority have gone on record in support of keeping the federal government from tampering with state medical marijuana laws.

“This has ramifications for banking issues, for tax issues, for insurance issues, for every other issue that’s faced by states that have legal medical marijuana,” the congressman from Boulder said. “There’s now a working bipartisan majority in Congress that is ready to respond in a way that insures that states have the prerogative to regulate medical marijuana as they see fit.”

The amendments to the appropriations bill which would prevent the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical marijuana and industrial hemp laws, passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 219 to 189.

Polis said despite the bipartisan support for the amendments, they’ll most likely not see the President’s desk.

“This is an appropriations bill. Congress hasn’t gone through what we call a regular order on these for some time. It’s unlikely that this bill will become law, it is more likely that there will be an omnibus appropriations package that might contain elements of this bill,” said Polis.

The congressman said what’s important is the change in the will and sense of Congress in relation to medical marijuana.

“It’s not just this vote. On topics related to ending the failed policy of prohibition in states where it’s legal, with regard to medicinal marijuana, there is now a majority of the House of Representatives on the record.”

The appropriations bill, and its numerous amendments, now head to the Senate for consideration.

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