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House votes to prohibit DEA from spending funds to target medical marijuana patients and providers


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(NaturalNews) For several weeks, medical marijuana advocate groups encouraged medical cannabis proponents to cheer on their federal congressional representatives to vote "yes" on restricting the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) from raiding state-approved cannabis dispensaries. Their efforts were rewarded by the House passing a resolution that would not allow funding for the DEA to raid those dispensaries or arrest their clients while operating within their states' laws.

The appropriations amendment was proposed by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.). Co-sponsors included Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Don Young (R-Alaska), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Steve Stockman (R-Texas), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

Calif. Rep. Rohrabacher has often said that it's immoral for federal agents to block medical marijuana that's been prescribed to patients. He argued on the House floor, "Some people are suffering, and if a doctor feels that he needs to prescribe something to alleviate that suffering, it is immoral for this government to get in the way. And that's what's happening."

He also appealed to fellow conservative republicans on states' rights issues, but unfortunately only a small minority of House Republicans, 49, voted yes on the appropriations-blocking amendment. The final vote in favor was 219 "yes" to 189 "no." You can view all the individual House of Representative "yes" and "no" votes along with the 23 who did not vote either way here.

HR 4660 is a 2015 fiscal year appropriations bill for funding the Departments of Justice, Commerce and Science, and related agencies. The amendment to HR 4660 prohibits the U.S. Department of Justice, which controls the DEA, from using any funds from their fiscal year 2015 for legal interference with medical cannabis providers and medical marijuana licensed users in all states that have their own laws on medical marijuana.

A tipping point in the government's war on cannabis

The floor debate had two House Republicans who also are doctors vocally oppose the amendment. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) opposed the amendment. Harris merely spouted false DEA propaganda, and Fleming seems to desire banning everything, including alcohol if it were realistic. What would happen to New Orleans then?

However, Rep. Paul Broun, also a doctor and a republican, asserted marijuana's medical value and supported states' rights during his time with the floor debate: He stated that there are "very valid medical reasons" to use marijuana extracts or products.

"It's less dangerous than some narcotics that doctors prescribe all over this country," Broun said. He added that marijuana was a states' rights issue, and Congress needed to "reserve the states' powers under the Constitution."

One of the other representatives who co-sponsored the appropriations amendment, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) also urged congressional members with a passionate speech:

"Those who suffer under current policies are not faceless. They are not statistics. They are our neighbors and live in our communities. They are... with conditions -- often desperate and painful -- who have turned to medical marijuana to help them get through each day. They're not the enemy, and it's time we stopped treating them like it."

Appropriations amendment strategies had been unsuccessfully tried before. This congressional meeting saw medical marijuana advocates bring their sixth attempt to curb the DEA's obsessive oppression of medical marijuana over the past 11 years.

The fact that the amendment finally got through was celebrated as a "tipping point" for medical marijuana's future as well as eventually legalizing cannabis in more states. Tom Angell, Marijuana Majority chairman, summarized this congressional event as the beginning of the end of the war on pot.

Angell said, "This historic vote shows just how quickly marijuana reform has become a mainstream issue. ... If any political observers weren't aware that the end of the war on marijuana is nearing, they just found out."

Sources for this article include:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://www.people-press.org

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://thinkprogress.org

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