US: Congress votes to stop Feds from interfering in State cannabis programs

The House of Representatives has voted to block the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using its funds to enforce federal cannabis laws within states which have passed their own laws regulating recreational or medical cannabis cultivation, consumption and sales.

This measure was one of the several amendments put before the floor for inclusion in the appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2020. The measure, which expands an existing rider that protected medical cannabis programs, was approved on Thursday by a 267-165 vote.

Cannabis industry advocates are convinced that the vote tally reflects the broad support for cannabis law reform, and this support can be used to effect further reforms of the federal cannabis laws.

A day earlier (June 19), the House had also passed another measure seeking to protect the cannabis laws of Indian tribes. This particular measure was passed through a voice vote without any lawmaker asking for a roll call vote. The rider now makes it to the appropriations bill as well.

Rep. McClintock, one of the sponsors of the measure which was approved on Thursday, wrote a letter to members of the House on the day of the vote reminding them that what was at stake was a question on whether the federal government had any authority to dictate on matters of policy regarding an issue which happens within the borders of a state. In his view, which other members appear to have agreed with from the way they voted, the federal government didn’t have that constitutional authority.

Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance, Cannabis Trade Federation, and other cannabis advocacy groups hailed the decision of Congress as historical and a sign that lawmakers in the House of Representatives are waking up to the fact that cannabis law reform “isn’t just good policy but has also become good politics.”

Read more at CNW

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