Medical marijuana ban lifted in 2016 budget package

Tucked away in the bowels of the 1,603 page omnibus budget bill which President Obama signed on Friday, was a provision which lifts the federal ban on medical marijuana.  After years of consideration to allow the drug’s use via prescription, the change in federal policy also marks a shift in GOP politics, as 177 Republicans in the House and Senate voted for the legislation.

Currently, 32 states allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, but the drug is still listed federally as a Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act.  That means it is considered to have “a high potential for abuse”, and “has no currently accepted medical use in treatment”.

The provision in the Consolidated Appropriations Act specifically blocks federal resources from being used to stop states from instituting medical marijuana policies.

In 2014, the Obama administration adopted a no-enforcement policy regarding states which have passed marijuana legalization laws, including those which allow its recreational use.

The new federal medical marijuana policy guarantees that even future administrations will not be able to prosecute states which allow the drug’s use to treat conditions such as chronic pain, glaucoma, and muscle spasms.


[LA Times] [WebMD]