The U.S. House voted to allow individual states to make their own laws on medical marijuana. However, there still are issues with regard to what the feds are still allowed to control, its authorized distributions and requirements for getting the medical marijuana card in each state.
(Photo : Coleen Whitfield)
The U.S. House voted to allow individual states to rule on medical marijuana on their own. The bill is now cleared with a 218-189 vote in favor of pro-marijuana legislators. The bill would prevent the federal government from thwarting state laws on medical marijuana.
The bill specifically applied to Washington and Colorado where recreational cannabis is currently legalized. The majority vote represents not only the opinion on federal oversight on medical marijuana state laws of Republicans and Democrats but of the public as well. Based on a study, 73 percent of Americans are in favor of medical cannabis.
“This is historic,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) said. “A victory for states’ rights, for the doctor-patient relationship, for compassion, for fiscal responsibility. This vote shows that House members really can listen to the American people, form coalitions, and get things done.”
Prior to the amendment, Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) said that people who follow their state law cannot be busted by the feds especially doctors and patients. More than half of the United States has already legalized marijuana for medical purposes.
Rep. Rohrabacher listed the states which are allowed to implement their state laws that authorize the distribution, use, cultivation or possession of medical cannabis. These are the States of Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin and Washington.
Additional legislation is in progress in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. However, one concern to the medical marijuana legalization is the different requirements for someone to obtain a medical cannabis card in each state. Minnesota allows patients with severe conditions to buy marijuana pills, vapor and oil but they are not allowed to smoke it. However, Minnesota advocates are now pushing to make the laws more clear. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill that allows children with severe epilepsy to receive a non-psychoactive marijuana oil treatment.
The legalities of businesses distributing medical cannabis are also unclear in Washington and California, leaving more room for interpretation. Federal officials say dispensaries are not given authorizations by state law but local officials disagree about it.
As per the advocates, some members of the House tried to protect state laws on medical marijuana for almost 10 years but it seems Congress is now representing the will of the voters. There was a federal and state law disconnect that needs resolution and this latest vote appears to be a move toward that direction.
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