Vote in Congress ‘Beginning of the End’ of Federal Cannabis Prohibition

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The Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform reacts to the historic vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to slash DEA funding to raid and arrest medical cannabis patients and providers.

Last night’s vote in the U.S. House of Representatives is a turning point in the federal government’s failed approach to marijuana, the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform (CCPR) declared today.

The appropriations amendment offered by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) passed 219-189, with considerable bipartisan support. The language of the amendment restricts the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) ability to raid and arrest patients and users participating in state licensed medical cannabis programs. The amendment still must be approved by the Senate.

“This is the beginning of the end,” said Dale Sky Jones, executive director of CCPR, “and it’s proof that our elected officials also know the country is ready to end the failed policy of prohibition and allow for medical research. Marginal issues don’t win a majority of support in the U.S. House of Representatives, and it is neat to see this as something they can agree on.”

California was the first state in the nation to approve cannabis for medical use in 1996. Since then, 22 states and the District of Columbia have followed suit plus two states, Colorado and Washington, have voted to end cannabis prohibition altogether. “This mirrors the end of alcohol prohibition, when individual states such as New York and California decided to stop participating in alcohol prohibition by changing state law years before Congress repealed it,” observed Jones.

“Not only is this a win for patients, providers and voters who approved these programs, it’s a relief for law enforcement officers who have the difficult task of enforcing dubious federal laws,” said Diane Goldstein, a former lieutenant for the Redondo Beach Police Department and Executive Board Member for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

The vote is expected to energize efforts to expand voter approved cannabis regulations across the country. In California, recent surveys from the Public Polling Institute of California and The Field Poll found that a majority of registered and likely voters support regulating and taxing cannabis.

CCPR is on the front-lines of the movement in California to make this a reality and plans to launch a grassroots campaign to build the support needed for expanded cannabis regulations to win on the ballot in an upcoming statewide election.

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Brian McGuigan
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