House Republicans back state marijuana laws

A somewhat surprising 219-189 vote

Chip Paul, chairman Oklahomans for Health, speaks with the media during a medical marijuana rally at the State Capitol.  (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Steve Sisney)

Chip Paul, chairman Oklahomans for Health, speaks with the media during a medical marijuana rally at the State Capitol.
(AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Steve Sisney)

The GOP-controlled House voted early Friday in favor of blocking the federal government from interfering with states that permit the use of medical marijuana.

The somewhat surprising 219-189 vote came as the House debated a bill funding the Justice Department’s budget.

The amendment by conservative GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California — the first state to legalize medical marijuana — came as almost half the states have legalized marijuana for medical uses, such as improving the appetites of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

“Public opinion is shifting,” Rohrabacher said, noting a recent Pew Research Center that found 61 percent of Republicans support medical marijuana. The numbers are higher for independents and Democrats.

“Despite this overwhelming shift of public opinion, the federal government continues its hard line of oppression against medical marijuana,” he said.

Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer told opponents that “this train has already left the station.”

Opponents said that marijuana is regulated too loosely by the states and harms the brain.

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., cited a recent Drug Enforcement Administration study that said that many in the medical marijuana movement are using it as “a means to an end,” meaning legalization for recreational use.

“Congress is officially pulling out of the war on medical marijuana patients and providers,” said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project.

The measure now heads to the Democratic Senate.

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3 Responses to "House Republicans back state marijuana laws"

  1. John  May 30, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Looks to me like Republicans, with their lowest approval rating in history, are grabbing anything they can to get back in good favour with the American people. Obama has already made a statement that he thinks marijuana is a vice, but not a problem, and said the states can legalize if they want to. Not like the Republicans are really making a big difference or statement with their new position on marijuana.

  2. SDRSr  May 31, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Were not Republicans advocates for tougher criminal laws such as three strikes and your out, tougher anti-drug laws and the like? Now they are supporting state marijuana laws? Not talking about medical marijuana. Are not the states de-criminalizing marijuana liberal? Are not Colorado, California, Organ and Washington Democratic states?

    Republicans must be getting real scared of a Democratic win. The only question is how big…

  3. woody188  June 2, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    The Senate would be wise to pass this fair legislation. We should not be keeping people from getting the medicine they need to improve their lives.

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