Justice Department Defying Congress, Breaking the Law on Medical Marijuana – Huffington Post

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently told the Los Angeles Times that a bipartisan amendment passed by Congress last year prohibiting DOJ from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws doesn’t prevent it from prosecuting people for medical marijuana or seizing their property.The statement comes as the agency continues to target people who are complying with their state medical marijuana law. This insubordination is occurring despite the fact that members of Congress in both parties were clear that their intent with the amendment was to protect medical marijuana patients and providers from federal prosecution and forfeiture.Currently, 23 states and the District of Columbia have laws that legalize and regulate marijuana for medicinal purposes. And 12 states have laws on the books regulating cannabidiol (CBD) oils, a non-psychotropic component of medical marijuana which some parents are utilizing to treat their children’s seizures. Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for non-medical use.Last May, Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Democratic Congressman Sam Farr offered an amendment to a spending bill prohibiting the Justice Department from spending any money in 2015 to prevent states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”The Drug Policy Alliance worked to pass the amendment. Members of both parties took to the House floor in opposition to the prosecution of medical marijuana patients and providers and in defense of states setting their own marijuana laws without federal interference. The Republican-controlled House passed the amendment with most Democrats and 49 Republicans approving it. The amendment was backed in the Senate by Republican Senator Rand Paul and Democratic Senator Cory Booker and made it into the final “cromnibus” bill that was signed by President Obama in December. The spending restriction applies to fiscal year 2015 spending.The House also passed three other amendments last year letting states set their own marijuana policies, but those amendments never made it into law. Polls show roughly three-quarters of Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use. A little more than half of voters support legalizing marijuana for non-medical use, in the same way alcohol is legal, taxed, and regulated.Even though the spending restriction is a good restriction, the Department of Justice’s actions show the need for changing federal law. Last month Drug Policy Alliance worked with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand ( …Read More

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