Congress Votes To Protect Legal Cannabis

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The US Congress voted to protect legal cannabis at the state level. This is absolutely a big deal and here’s why.

First, let’s look at exactly what took place. On Thursday, 6/20, The US House of Representatives voted 267-165, along party lines, to approve a rider to the House appropriations bill. The bill, when it becomes law, would block the US Department of Justice from interfering with state cannabis laws.

Why is this a big deal?

This is big because, unlike past bills that only protected medical cannabis laws, this time it would provide sweeping protection of adult use (recreational) cannabis laws too. That includes cultivation, sales, and adult use. This would truly protect legal cannabis laws for the first time.

“This is the most significant vote on marijuana reform policy that the House of Representatives has ever taken. Today’s action by Congress highlights the growing power of the marijuana law reform movement and the increasing awareness by political leaders that the policy of prohibition and criminalization has failed.”

Justin Strekal-NORML Political Director
legal cannabis protection
This appropriations bill would fund the US Government for fiscal 2020.

This change would protect legal cannabis, the cannabis industry, and cannabis consumers in 11 states and Washington DC, as well as US territories that have legalized adult use, and also continue to protect the 30 states that have medical, legal cannabis laws and programs.

Obviously, if signed into law, any new states or US territories that legalize cannabis would be afforded the same protection. It would also protect Native American legal cannabis laws.

What happens next?

The next step is for the full appropriations bill to be sent to the US Senate for a vote. This part could get tricky because the Senate is controlled by a slim Republican majority. They may resist this sweeping change to the role of the Department of Justice in regards to federal cannabis laws and their enforcement.

In other words, they may not be as high on wanting to protect legal cannabis laws at the state level. So, now is the time to act, to call or write your US Senators to ask them to support this measure.

Read more CannabisIRL articles about Legalization.

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