Every year, Congress passes a spending bill, a large document that essentially spells out the amount of taxpayer dollars allotted to pay for services provided by the federal government.
And, like every spending bill, a small provision or two get quietly inserted into the bill’s language and passes underneath the noses of our elected officials.
This year’s passage has gained widespread attention and is a win for medical marijuana enthusiasts.
Over the past decade, approximately 32 states as well as the District of Columbia have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana in various forms.
However, marijuana is still considered an illegally controlled substance under federal law. And, despite state action, federal law always trumps state law-which means federal agents are free to police users and those who operate dispensaries in any state where it’s legal-until now.
Hidden in the roughly 1600 pages of the recently signed federal appropriation’s bill is a small provision that essentially ends this authority by the federal government.
Federal agents can no longer proceed with criminal action against anyone in a state or district where medical marijuana usage is legal.
The bill was signed by President Obama last month and takes effect until September 20 of next year.
Although a small step toward marijuana legalization, it’s certainly good news for individuals who have for years relentless pushed for drug reform.
It remains to be seen what actions will be taken by other states and the federal government in the years to come.