More states are moving to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in response to the Obama administration’s decision to limit prosecutions of sick people or caregivers who use or dispense the drug, reports USA Today. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that his agents will seek criminal charges only when both state and U.S. laws are violated. Agents during the Bush administration raided centers that dispense marijuana in California, where state law permits its medical use. Twelve other states also allow medical marijuana, but U.S. law prohibits its use for any reason.
New Hampshire state Rep. Evalyn Merrick’s bill that would legalize medicinal use of marijuana if approved by a doctor passed the House on Wednesday, 234-138. Holder’s announcement boosts state proposals for changing marijuana laws, says Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates legalizing marijuana. “The politics around marijuana are changing,” he says. Other states considering more relaxed laws include New Jersey, Illinois, and Minnesota. In November, Michigan and Massachusetts voters adopted medical marijuana laws.