* An important development that I missed…
Congress dealt a historic blow to the United States’ decades-long war on drugs [a week ago] Saturday with the passage of the federal spending bill, which contains protections for medical marijuana and industrial hemp operations in states where they are legal.
The spending bill includes an amendment that prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to go after state-legal medical cannabis programs. If the bill is signed into law, it will bring the federal government one step closer to ending raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, as well as stopping arrests of individuals involved with pot businesses that are complying with state law. […]
“Congress has finally initiated a drawdown in the federal government’s war on medical marijuana,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement. “This legislation makes it clear that the DEA has no business interfering in states’ medical marijuana laws. Taxpayer money should not be used to punish seriously ill people who use medical marijuana and the caregivers who provide it to them.” […]
Industrial hemp also received new protections from DEA intervention under the spending bill. The same plant species as marijuana, cannabis sativa, hemp contains little to no THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana associated with the “high” sensation. The farm bill, which President Barack Obama signed into law in February, legalized industrial hemp production in states that permit it.
Eighteen states have legalized industrial hemp production, and more than a dozen others have introduced legislation that would authorize research into the plant, set up a regulatory framework or legalize growing it.