CT lawmakers vote to keep feds from enforcing marijuana laws

Washington – Connecticut’s House delegation on Friday voted unanimously for a measure that would stop federal agencies from enforcing marijuana laws against state-approved medical marijuana programs.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said he sponsored the amendment because 26 states, including Connecticut, allow the use of marijuana for medical reasons, putting them at odds with federal law.

In a  219-189 vote, the amendment was included in a to a spending bill that would fund the Commerce  Department and the Justice Department next year.

The amendment, which  would prohibit the Justice Department from spending federal funds to conduct raids or otherwise interfere with medical-marijuana activities, was supported by most House Democrats but very few Republicans. Only 49 GOP House members voted for the amendment.

Rohrabacher said he became a proponent of medical marijuana years ago, when he was spoon feeding his ill mother and “learned that medical marijuana could have helped her appetite and raise her spirits.”

During the debate on his amendment, he cited a recent Pew survey that found 76 percent of Americans—including 69 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats—think  people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana should not serve time in jail.

“Despite overwhelming shift in public opinion, the federal government continues its hard line of oppression against medical marijuana,” Rohrabacher said.

Connecticut’s  law approving the sale of marijuana for medical purposes has been on the books for two years, but the drug is still not available because of difficulties in finding dispensing locations acceptable to the state’s cities and towns.

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