The war on drugs is such an abysmal failure that even the lawmakers who have funded it for decades are drawing a line in the sand. Multiple bills in Congress have cropped up in recent months aiming to protect medical marijuana and reschedule cannabis, if not legalize it altogether.
The most recent development comes in the form of Congress’ recently unveiled budget, which allots exactly zero dollars to the Department of Justice to wage medical marijuana crackdowns across the country.
The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment “allows states to carry on with crafting their own medical marijuana policies without fear of federal intervention,” the Huffington Post reported.
The full text of the amendment to the budget bill reads as follows:
None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.
The bill is expected to pass this week and will fund the government through September. Congress is also moving to provide protections for hemp.
Dana Rohrabacher, a conservative lawmaker from California, has previously introduced similar legislation to prevent federal encroachment on state marijuana laws. Earlier this year, Anti-Media reported on his introduction of a bill that consisted of only one line:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.
A mounting number of lawmakers, including Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Tom Garrett, have moved to protect cannabis in states with policies that conflict with federal prohibition, and the country at large. The recent push is, in large part, a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ anti-cannabis rhetoric. Though he reportedly privately assured senators he would not crack down on states where it is legal, he also recently warned that while states can pass their own laws, “…it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.”
In February, a U.S. Attorney for the Department of Justice claimed an Obama-era rule instructing the agency to respect state laws had been interpreted incorrectly. However, it is unclear whether Sessions influenced this move or that U.S. Attorney acted independently.
Regardless, Sessions has been widely criticized for his views, and his hard-line law and order rhetoric continues to reveal just how out of touch he is with the rest of the country when it comes to legalization.
Considering Congress also bears responsibility for decades of the failed war on drugs, it is telling that in recent years, those same lawmakers have appeared to soften their stalwart approach.
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