Federal Ban Lifted On Medical Marijuana, Provision Lifting The Ban Quietly Placed In The Recent Spending Bill

Medical marijuana is no longer banned at the federal level. The near 2,000-page federal spending bill that was passed the other day included a provision that lifts the medical marijuana ban. The war on medical marijuana is now nearly over.

In the past, federal agents were still legally able to go to states where medical marijuana is legal and raid them. The medical marijuana laws at the federal level took precedence over the state medical marijuana laws. Under the new legislation, medical marijuana dispensaries and users are now safe from federal agents. This new legislation is a turning point on how the federal government views marijuana. Representative Dana Rohrabacher was the co-author of the provision. Rohrabacher commented on the political victory.
"This is a victory for so many. The first time in decades that the federal government has curtailed its oppressive prohibition of marijuana."
Representative Sam Farr also weighed in on the historic move by Congress.
"The federal government will finally respect the decisions made by the majority of states that passed medical marijuana laws. This 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 medical marijuana movement started in the early 1990s. Since then, 32 of the 50 states, and the District of Columbia have adjusted the laws to make medical marijuana, or the ingredients in marijuana, legal to be used for medical purposes. Even though the medical marijuana movement as been successful, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. Schedule I drugs are considered to be the most addictive and to have no medical use. Research has proven that marijuana does have a use in the medical world. Due to its proven medical use, marijuana no longer fits the standard that makes it a Schedule I controlled substance. Medical marijuana has helped in the treatments of the following medical conditions.
  • Glaucoma
  • Nerve problems such as neuropathy
  • Treatment of nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy in cancer patients
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Migraines
  • Seizure disorders
  • Intense chronic pain
Full legalization of marijuana is still being debated in Congress. As of now, full legalization is a barrier that the government is not ready to knock down. Even though Congress is still far off on legalizing marijuana, people in favor of its use see this new legislation as a sign that Congress is making its way to legalize the drug. Bill Piper is a lobbyist for Drug Policy Alliance. Piper commented on the ban being lifted at the federal level.
"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."
In Congress, Democrats have been in favor of relaxing the laws for marijuana for years. Republicans are now starting to join the Democrats on this issue which is why this legislation was able to be placed in the bill. Enough Republicans were on the same page as Democrats on this issue that it was going to have no problem getting through. Republicans have long been the party known for not wanting any type of marijuana to be legalized. Some are now coming around since so many states now have laws allowing marijuana to be used for medical and even recreational purposes. The millennial demographic is one that the Republicans are trying to reach. Since the legalization of marijuana is a big issue with the millennials, Republicans are now starting to ease up on their anti-marijuana rhetoric.

What are your opinions on legalizing medical marijuana? Are you in favor of making marijuana legal across the country?

Read more on the subject here: Delaware marijuana reform

[Image Via AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File]