WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to reauthorize an amendment that would protect medical marijuana operations from federal interference in states where the drug is legal, siding with a majority of Americans who say that medical marijuana is an issue best left to the states.
The amendment, offered by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.) to the fiscal year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill, passed 242 to 186. It blocks the Justice Department, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, from using funds to undermine state-legal medical marijuana programs.
“Our founding fathers didn’t want criminal justice to be handled by the federal government,” Rohrabacher said passionately during debate on the legislation in the early hours of Wednesday morning. “This is absolutely absurd that the federal government is going to mandate all these things even though the people of the states and many doctors would like to have the right to prescribe to their patients what they think will alleviate their suffering. This is states’ rights issue. Our founding fathers didn’t want a police force that can bust down people’s doors. They wanted individual freedom.”