By Rob Kampia
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Now that Congress has returned from its August recess, it’s time for members to debate and vote on the annual budget that will fund the federal government from October of this year through September of next year. And various marijuana amendments will be a part of these discussions.
Much has been made of the way same-sex marriage moved rapidly from unthinkable to inevitable to achieving the ultimate victory. But there’s another issue following a similar trajectory – marijuana legalization. As with marriage reform, the bulk of the action with marijuana legalization has been at the state level, with most members of Congress hesitant to express support until public opinion moves well past the tipping point. This is starting to change.
Until last year, neither chamber of Congress had ever passed any measure in support of reforming federal marijuana laws. That changed in May 2014 when the House, with 219 votes, passed a budget restriction that was intended to block the enforcement of federal marijuana laws for people and businesses acting in compliance with state laws that permit medical marijuana. That measure, sponsored by Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA), became law when it was included in the so-called “CRomnibus” in December 2014.