With a federal bill put into law earlier this fall, the DEA can no longer randomly raid medical marijuana businesses operating within the legal constraints set forth by their state. Now, Congress plans to continue barring the Department of Justice and the DEA from spending any federal money interfering with state marijuana laws or their businesses.
Congress finally sees that spending money fighting medical marijuana and recreational marijuana in legalized states as a losing battle, as The Huffington Post reports. The DOJ, however, interprets the new bill in their own language still deeming marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, deeming it as one of the most harmful drugs in existence. Congress is doing everything in its power to get it through to the DOJ and DEA that unless a medical marijuana business is operating unlawfully, they cannot interfere.
The pressure is on. There is no more denying or deflecting the fact that the majority of American citizens want medical marijuana legalized. Many also support full recreational legalization, thus ending prohibition once and for all. Along with the approved bill, hemp importation for research purposes also cannot be toyed with. The DEA must keep its hands off of hemp production and research companies as well.
One important provision that continues to fail is marijuana businesses working with banks. Banks and the federal government still view medical marijuana and legal recreational sales dollars as “drug money.” That being said, it is difficult for dispensaries and other marijuana business owners to have proper banking. This banking issue is expected to be tackled over the next year.
Even though the victories have been small in 2015 for marijuana reform, it is a step in the right direction. Congress finally realizes that this issue is not going away. It’s what the people want, as well as many politicians, on both sides of the political fence. Getting marijuana off of the schedule 1 drug list may take some time, but legal reform is near.