Friday, December 26th, 2014


By Lex Renner

Follow me on Twitter @roll_lex



The year 2014 has been a momentous year for the cannabis legalization movement. We have seen an increase in the number of states allowing medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, and finally a little affirmation from the federal government: A bill was just passed that will stop all federally funded raids of legal marijuana dispensaries. And it was a spending bill no less.

President Obama just signed a spending bill with an interesting side effect. There is a stipulation in the bill that will end all federal funding for raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in states where marijuana has been legalized for such use. This is the first real sign of acceptance from the federal government, and has come on the heels of some ground-breaking legalization efforts.

Now that this bill has passed, dispensaries can operate with one less concern. Without worrying about federal raids, dispensary operators can focus on the patients and clients their businesses are serving. This will be a major relief to these small businesses owners, some of which have been shut down multiple times. This added sense of business security will be a major boost to the new industry.

This affirmation will also prove beneficial to the legalization movements still pushing forward in many states, as we have already seen in Indiana with the new bill introduced. Potential investors may be more willing to back political campaigns if they know businesses will not be threatened by the federal government.

There are still plenty of dispensary owners that remain skeptical, however. This backdoor tactic does make it official law, but there are always ways around the law. We can be sure that our law enforcement officers are not completely done with their raids, but we should see a sharp decrease in these unnecessary interruptions to legitimate businesses.

This nod from the government gives further legitimacy to the building movement that seems nearly impossible to stop now. It will not be long after this that we see a federal mandate come down completely legalizing medical marijuana, with recreational legalization close on its heels. This is the first step in this process, and it could not have come at a better time in the legalization movement. Proponents of the cause everywhere should take note of this.

Now the floodgate has opened, and full legalization is on the horizon. At the very least, we will see more and more states rallying behind this federal move to follow on this momentum.



Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Section 538 prohibits the Department of Justice from preventing certain States from implementing State laws regarding the use of medical marijuana.

Section 539 prohibits the use of funds by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration in contravention of a certain section of the Agricultural Act of 2014.

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