The U.S. House voted Thursday to ban the U.S. Justice Department from enforcing the federal ban on cannabis in any state that has legalized the drug for any purpose.
The amendment to the legislation funding several federal agencies for the 12 moths beginning Oct. 1 passed, 254-163, with 31 Republicans voting yes.
“As we work to ultimately end the senseless prohibition of cannabis and the failed war on drugs, these amendments will help ensure the protection of legal state, territory and tribal cannabis programs,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., the co-founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus and the amendment’s chief sponsor.
Justin Strekal, political director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, called the action “the most significant vote on marijuana policy reform that the House of Representatives has taken this year.”
“The importance of this bipartisan vote cannot be overstated as today; nearly one in four Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal under state statute,” he said.
The House is expected to pass the legislation, which funds the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Justice, Labor, Energy, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development and other federal agencies, on Friday.
Congress long has used the annual spending bill as a tool to prevent the federal government from going after states that have legalized medical marijuana even as cannabis remains illegal under U.S. law. [Read [email protected] NJ.com]