The $1.1 trillion omnibus budget bill the Congress passed in its waning days of existence and that President Obama is unwisely expected to sign next week is full of corporate giveaways, regulatory bypasses and other decisions that hurt ordinary people. But there is at least one useful provision that sneaked into the bill and my Congressman was instrumental in making it happen.
That provision prohibits DEA from enforcing Federal laws against marijuana use against medical users in states where that usage is legal. It stops short of legalization but it effectively makes it safe to buy and sell pot for medicinal purposes at states’ discretion. I suspect we will now see a significant increase in the number of states allowing that use.
Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) along with Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa co-sponsored and managed the bill through a surprising bipartisan group of backers in the House. Although the provision merely codifies what had already been established as Obama Administration policy, it secures it against a future administration feeling less kindly disposed toward medical marijuana buyers and sellers and revoking what was an administrative regulation.
I personally know a number of people who have been helped over the years by the medical use of marijuana so I was glad to see this happen. As a member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law (NORML), I look forward to the day when this relatively harmless drug will be dealt with humanely and in an enlightened way. As it is, the “Reefer Madness” of the 50’s and 60’s has resulted in it being labeled as a drug that is more dangerous than cocaine, which is laugh-out-loud stupid.