The newly-passed $1.1 trillion federal spending bill also includes a bipartisan provision that signals the end of the federal ban on medical marijuana, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The provision bars federal agents from raiding medical marijuana retailers in the 32 states and the District of Columbia where the practice has been legalized. It also protects hemp farms in Colorado. The amendment was written by two California congressmen, Sam Farr (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).
“This is a victory for so many, including scores of our wounded veterans, who have found marijuana to be an important medicine for some of the ailments they suffer, such as PTSD, epilepsy, and MS,” Rohrabacher said in a statement.
The measure followed the Justice Department’s move last year to scale back prosecution against legal marijuana growers and distributors. The department issued a similar directive last week concerning Native American reservations that may also legalize the drug.
However, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug on a federal level. The “Cromnibus” bill, as it has been called, contains a separate provision that will also stop Washington D.C. from using taxpayer money to enacting its own legalization of medical marijuana.
President Barack Obama is expected to sign the spending bill into effect this week.
“The war on medical marijuana is over,” Drug Policy Alliance lobbyist Bill Piper told the Times. “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.”
[h/t Roll Call]