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House Votes to Protect Legal Cannabis States from Federal Interventions

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Washington, DC: On July 30, the House of Representatives by voice vote passed a wide-ranging amendment restricting the Department of Justice from spending taxpayer dollars to enforce federal anti-[cannabis] laws in the majority of US states that regulate either the adult-use and/or medical use of cannabis.

A roll call will be made later today and published at NORML.org.

“This is the most significant vote on [cannabis] policy reform that the House of Representatives has taken this year,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “The importance of this bipartisan vote cannot be overstated as today; nearly one in four Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal under state statute. It is time for Congress to acknowledge this reality and retain these protections in the final spending bill.”

“The next logical step for House Leadership is to bring legislation to the floor to end prohibition and demonstrate to the American people that the era of [cannabis] criminalization is drawing to a close,” Strekal concluded.

Since 2014, members of Congress have passed annual spending bills that have included language protecting those who engage in the state-sanctioned use, production, and dispensing of medical cannabis from undue prosecution by the Department of Justice. The Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton-Lee amendment expands these protections to also include activities specific to the production and sale of cannabis to adults in the eleven states that have legalized the plant for anyone age 21 or older.

Similar language was passed by the House last year, yet the provision was stripped out of the final appropriations package in the conference committee.

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NORML advocates for changes in public policy so that the responsible possession and use of [cannabis] by adults is no longer subject to criminal penalties. NORML further advocates for a regulated commercial cannabis market so that activities involving the for-profit production and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products are safe, transparent, consumer-friendly, and are subject to state and/or local licensure. Finally, NORML advocates for additional changes in legal and regulatory policies so that those who use [cannabis] responsibly are no longer face either social stigma or workplace discrimination, and so that those with past criminal records for [cannabis]-related violations have the opportunity to have their records automatically expunged.

 Find out more at norml.org and read our factsheets on the most common misconceptions and myths regarding reform efforts around the country at norml.org/marijuana/fact-sheets

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