The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to approve an amendment to a defense spending bill that prohibits the federal government from spending money on investigating and prosecuting cannabis activities that are legal under state or tribal law. The wide-ranging amendment, proposed by Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, is similar to spending restrictions placed on federal agencies to protect legal cannabis that have been passed each year since 2014.
“This is the most significant vote on marijuana policy reform that the House of Representatives has taken this year,” Justin Strekal, the political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) said in a press release. “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 marijuana criminalization is drawing to a close,” Strekal added.