Buried in the 1,603-page federal spending bill is a small passage with a big impact:
None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.
On the outside, this formal statement indicates that the $1.1 trillion-worth federal funds won’t be used to prevent the aforementioned states from implementing medical marijuana laws. However, it’s actually a major win for our side as it offers protection to medical marijuana dispensaries and users, making federal raids in states where cannabis is legal a thing of the past.
“So the Federal Ban on Medical Marijuana Has Finally Ended?”
Sadly, the approved measure doesn’t lift the ban on medical marijuana under federal law as the media widely touted. It doesn’t even exempt cannabis as an illegal Schedule I drug (i.e. highly addictive and without medical use) under the Controlled Substances Act. However, it does prevent the agency from using its limited resources to challenge state laws legalizing marijuana.
Many deem this a major victory. Drug Policy Alliance lobbyist Bill Piper commented, “The war on medical marijuana is over. Now the fight moves on to legalization of all marijuana. This is the strongest signal we have received from Congress [that] the politics have really shifted…. Congress has been slow to catch up with the states and American people, but it is catching up.”
And it has truly been catching up. Republicans are adding their voices to Democrats’, which is one of the reasons this legislation was placed in the bill. This is a major change as Republicans have opposed the legalization of all uses of marijuana.
“Will it Be Long Before Marijuana is Legal?”
Though Congress has changed its stance on medical marijuana, many lawmakers are still hesitant to accept full legalization. However, it’s important to consider that the 1990s movement to legalize pot has caught speed recently. Just last year the Obama administration instructed federal prosecutors to stop enforcing drug laws that contradict state cannabis policies. Since then, federal raids on legal marijuana merchants and growers have been limited to those accused of money laundering and other violations.
That aside, marijuana’s benefits are starting to come to the light, forcing even the federal agency for cancer research, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), to list cannabis as a complementary and alternative medicine. With a growing body of research proving the power of weed to treat glaucoma, nerve disorders, chemotherapy side effects, and even seizure disorders, there’s a good chance the proposal known as the States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act may remove the herb off the Schedule 1 list and initiate much-needed research on its therapeutic effects.
Finally, your contribution can bring on a change in present cannabis policies. By donating or volunteering, you can help in making hemp available for those in need. You’re welcome to contact us to discover other ways you can make a difference. So get in touch right away and let’s make marijuana legal in Kentucky.