States Press Ahead With Medical Marijuana Initiatives


State lawmakers in several states are pushing ahead with medical-marijuana legislation, despite the Supreme Court ruling and the U.S. House of Representatives’ rejection Wednesday of a bill that would protect medical-pot users from federal prosecution, reports USA Today. Lawmakers in at least seven states – Alabama, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsin – say they will continue efforts to pass laws allowing residents to use marijuana for medical reasons. Some say, however, that recent federal action may dampen their chances for success. Others are halting their plans.

The U.S. House on Wednesday rejected 264-161 an amendment that would have barred the Justice Department from prosecuting medical-marijuana users who are following state laws. Ten states have medical-marijuana laws: California, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. A spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration says the court ruling won’t change the DEA’s enforcement. “We don’t go after the sick and dying,” she said, but added, “People should not be breaking the law. There’s always a possibility they could come under the radar.” Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., a sponsor of the failed House measure, says the court’s ruling and congressional inaction leave states in limbo. Congress, he says, “is frequently out of step and almost always behind public sentiment.”


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