The War on Weed is Over
Congress provided a historic victory for the legal marijuana industry with the massive government-funding bill passed Saturday night, December 13. The bill will end the federal government’s ban on selling or using pot for health reasons in states where it’s legalized. Within the $1.1 trillion spending measure are protections for industrial hemp and medical marijuana companies in states where they are legal.
In addition, an amendment to the measure prohibits the Department of Justice from spending money to go after medical cannabis programs in legal-weed states. When signed into law, the bill brings the federal government closer to ending arrests of individuals in pot businesses allowed by state law, as well as raids on medical marijuana dispensaries.
The war on weed pursued by countless law enforcement personnel since at least the 1960s is effectively over.
California Democratic Rep. Sam Farr told the Huffington Post:
“Today we made history. It is a great day for common sense because now our federal dollars will be spent more wisely on prosecuting criminals and not sick patients. The federal government will finally respect the decisions made by the majority of states that passed medical marijuana laws.”
Farr, who with California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, co-sponsored the medical marijuana protections amendment.
Medical marijuana programs in 23 states that legalized medical marijuana, in addition to the 11 additional states authorizing types of CBD extracts, the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana proven to provide relief in severe cases of epilepsy, are now under federal protection.
Marijuana is still categorized as a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which classifies the drug as having “no currently accepted medical use,” on the same level as heroin and LSD. Since that designation will not change with the passage of the spending bill, how the new rules will play out in practice is unclear.
However Congress has not quietly laid down arms in its war against marijuana. It appears Congress has blocked the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington, D.C., after a vote with more than 70 percent of voters approving use. A few members of Congress oppose the bill’s wording, saying the law may still have a chance of moving forward next year.
The war on weed has finally ended and quietly laid to rest. Now more effort can be given to drug abuse prevention and recovery. That is where attention should have been given all along.