For the first time in US history the federal government is cutting off funding for enforcement of marijuana laws.
Washington, D.C. - The final federal spending bill that Congress will consider this next week includes amendments that block the Justice Department from spending any funds on undermining state marijuana laws, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.
In addition, the spending bill also includes an amendment that will prohibit the DEA from blocking the implementation of a federal law that allows for hemp to be grown for agricultural and academic research purposes.
Bill Piper, Director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s office of national affairs said,
“For the first time, Congress is letting states set their own medical marijuana and hemp policies, a huge step forward for sensible drug policy. States will continue to reform their marijuana laws and Congress will be forced to accommodate them. It’s not a question of if, but when, federal marijuana prohibition will be repealed."
This past May the U.S. House passed a bipartisan amendment, with 219 votes, to prohibit the DEA from undermining medical marijuana laws in 23-states, in addition to the eleven states that regulate CBD oils.
The amendment, now in the final appropriations bill, is the first time Congress has ever cut off funding for enforcement of marijuana laws. It seems that Congress is coming to understand that going against the will of the people is an effort in futility.
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This must be looked at as a major national victory for marijuana law reforms. With 23-states having legalized medical marijuana and Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Washington, D.C. and Alaska legalizing recreational use, the time is now for the federal government to step up and begin to right some of the wrongs of the drug war that has been waged on Americans.
The U.S. has roughly 300 million citizens, but has more people in prison than China and India do combined. Their combined population is 2.6 billion people.
Let that sink in for a moment, they have almost one-third of the worlds population and yet we, here in the U.S., lock up more of our citizens, with the drug war being the precipitating factor.
The U.S. has fewer than 5% of the world's population, yet imprisons 25% of all people incarcerated in the world.
Over the past few years the clear majority of Americans have consistently supported the legalization of marijuana in numerous polls. The time for massive drug policy reform on the federal level is now.
The time has come to stop treating non-violent drug offenders as criminals and to begin to restore a small measure of sanity to U.S. drug policy.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.