Congress Ends Federal Government's Ban on MMJ
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Congress Ends Federal Government's Ban on MMJ
Posted by CN Staff on December 16, 2014 at 05:29:57 PT
By Evan Halper
Source: Los Angeles Times
Washington, D,C. -- Tucked deep inside the 1,603-page federal spending measure is a provision that effectively ends the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana and signals a major shift in drug policy. The bill's passage over the weekend marks the first time Congress has approved nationally significant legislation backed by legalization advocates. It brings almost to a close two decades of tension between the states and Washington over medical use of marijuana.Under the provision, states where medical pot is legal would no longer need to worry about federal drug agents raiding retail operations. Agents would be prohibited from doing so.
The Obama administration has largely followed that rule since last year as a matter of policy. But the measure approved as part of the spending bill, which President Obama plans to sign this week, will codify it as a matter of law.Pot advocates had lobbied Congress to embrace the administration's policy, which they warned was vulnerable to revision under a less tolerant future administration.More important, from the standpoint of activists, Congress' action marked the emergence of a new alliance in marijuana politics: Republicans are taking a prominent role in backing states' right to allow use of a drug the federal government still officially classifies as more dangerous than cocaine."This is a victory for so many," said the measure's coauthor, Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa. The measure's approval, he said, represents "the first time in decades that the federal government has curtailed its oppressive prohibition of marijuana."By now, 32 states and the District of Colombia have legalized pot or its ingredients to treat ailments, a movement that began in the 1990s. Even back then, some states had been approving broader decriminalization measures for two decades.The medical marijuana movement has picked up considerable momentum in recent years. The Drug Enforcement Administration, however, continues to place marijuana in the most dangerous category of narcotics, with no accepted medical use.Congress for years had resisted calls to allow states to chart their own path on pot. The marijuana measure, which forbids the federal government from using any of its resources to impede state medical marijuana laws, was previously rejected half a dozen times. When Washington, D.C., voters approved medical marijuana in 1998, Congress used its authority over the city's affairs to block the law from taking effect for 11 years.Even as Congress has shifted ground on medical marijuana, lawmakers remain uneasy about full legalization. A separate amendment to the spending package, tacked on at the behest of anti-marijuana crusader Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), will jeopardize the legalization of recreational pot in Washington, D.C., which voters approved last month.Marijuana proponents nonetheless said they felt more confident than ever that Congress was drifting toward their point of view."The war on medical marijuana is over," said Bill Piper, a lobbyist with the Drug Policy Alliance, who called the move historic."Now the fight moves on to legalization of all marijuana," he said. "This is the strongest signal we have received from Congress [that] the politics have really shifted. ... Congress has been slow to catch up with the states and American people, but it is catching up."The measure, which Rohrabacher championed with Rep. Sam Farr, a Democrat from Carmel, had the support of large numbers of Democrats for years. Enough Republicans joined them this year to put it over the top. When the House first passed the measure earlier this year, 49 Republicans voted aye.Some Republicans are pivoting off their traditional anti-drug platform at a time when most voters live in states where medical marijuana is legal, in many cases as a result of ballot measures.Polls show that while Republican voters are far less likely than the broader public to support outright legalization, they favor allowing marijuana for medical use by a commanding majority. Legalization also has great appeal to millennials, a demographic group with which Republicans are aggressively trying to make inroads.Approval of the pot measure comes after the Obama administration directed federal prosecutors last year to stop enforcing drug laws that contradict state marijuana policies. Since then, federal raids of marijuana merchants and growers who are operating legally in their states have been limited to those accused of other violations, such as money laundering."The federal government should never get in between patients and their medicine," said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland).Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: Evan HalperPublished: December 16, 2014Copyright: 2014 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on January 13, 2015 at 09:17:42 PT
It's hard to read...hard to comprehend...
FLASH BANGED: EVERY DAY, COPS TOSS DANGEROUS MILITARY-STYLE GRENADES DURING RAIDS, WITH LITTLE OVERSIGHT AND HORRIFYING RESULTS. (Hat tip to Allan for a post that brought this piece to my attention at Drug War Rant.) isn't a complete list of atrocities anywhere. It's been so widespread for so long and people just ignore it or forget it in a hurry. It's apparently easy for most people to ignore or qualify as unacceptable, somehow. Prohibitionists, if you don't care about the grown people... what about the children? How many do you have to maim or kill before it's enough? Some people apparently can accept that, too. What about the pets? That's harder for some people to know about the animals murdered than even the children or adults. I hate it all. It's like trying to stop the Inquisition. People are killing and accusing people ... a lot of people... and viciously and violently...over something that makes as much sense as killing them for suspicion of practicing witchcraft. And yes, many of the killers will snap back quickly to any of us that are appalled at what they are doing, that they suspect we, who dare to speak out against them, must be guilty of some of their made up crimes. Just like the freaking Inquisition.Drug War Victims
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on January 13, 2015 at 00:05:59 PT
The stores are very modest and tasteful.
I like the open way they are set up. They look like jewelry stores sort of.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on January 13, 2015 at 00:02:49 PT
I'm fairly sure 
That none of the ads linked to were "Aimed" at children. At all. What I saw seemed restrained, tasteful, aimed at adults and well done. When we wondered out loud on here those many times, those many years ago, and some of us tried to imagine what legalization would look like, I couldn't imagine. I really couldn't. Not much beyond something like head shops, or coffee shops, and liquor type sales. I'd only dared to really just hope they'd stop killing and abusing people over it. This sort of biggish business is not horrible. It's not even Wal-Mart, yet.I think it's such a hell of a lot better than government throw-downs in people's homes. And I see it's really over so little in the overall scheme of things. This plan of business, while distasteful and even frightening to some, is so much better than the way it was and the way it just about still is in some places in this country and it's territories. No one needs to be killed or imprisoned or debased over this plant. Ever.Why deny people the use of this healing herb and so viciously and vehemently, too? Why?This is obviously the "Big Marijuana" that scares our friend Kevin S. so much. This is not the new "Big tobacco" we see happening here. This is the new "Big herb", as in "Big Tea" and "Big Coffee" and "Big Chocolate". Big seed. Big fiber. Big hemp, baby!Cannabis is not alcohol and it is not tobacco. Cannabis is not witch craft. I love my hippie friends and I will 'til I die, or lose my mind... whichever comes first... but this "Business Model", which I know looks like desecration to some people, is better than the way it was. If the fearful and the haters, the prohibitionists, stop killing, persecuting, binding people's hands behind their backs, if they'll stop robbing people and if they stop imprisoning people, if they'll stop trying to destroy people, if they stop tearing apart families, and if they'll stop ruining futures over this herb, that is better.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on January 12, 2015 at 23:06:40 PT
Well that was pretty amazing.
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on December 17, 2014 at 03:06:19 PT
Teen Marijuana Use Falls as More States Legalize
Teen Marijuana Use Falls as More States Legalize Post
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on December 16, 2014 at 17:38:55 PT
Das ist gute ja?
Arbeit Macht frei!
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