US lawmakers back state medical marijuana laws

by Andrew Taylor

The U.S. House of Representatives voted early Friday in favor of blocking the federal government from interfering with states that permit the use of medical marijuana.

The somewhat surprising 219-189 vote came as the House, which is controlled by the Republican Party, debated a bill funding the Justice Department's budget.

The amendment by Republican representative Dana Rohrabacher of California—the first U.S. state to legalize —came as almost half the states have legalized marijuana for medical uses, such as improving the appetites of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

"Public opinion is shifting," Rohrabacher said, noting a recent Pew Research Center study that found 61 percent of Republicans support medical marijuana. The numbers are higher for independents and Democrats.

Opponents say marijuana is regulated too loosely by the states and harms the brain.

The measure now heads to the Democratic Senate.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Key to better sex ed: Focus on gender & power

date Apr 17, 2015

A new analysis by Population Council researcher Nicole Haberland provides powerful evidence that sexuality and HIV education programs addressing gender and power in intimate relationships are far more likely ...

Journal tackles aging policy issues raised by White House

date Apr 17, 2015

In anticipation of the forthcoming 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has produced a special issue of The Gerontologist that outlines a vision for older adults' econom ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.