House Unveils Medical Pot Bill

Legalization bill gets feds out of 'never-never land,' sponsor says

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 26, 2013 2:22 AM CST | Updated Feb 26, 2013 5:03 AM CST

(Newser) – A bipartisan bill to end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana—and close the ever-greater gap between state and federal policy—was unveiled by House lawmakers yesterday, Politico reports. Chief sponsor Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, described the legislation as a way to clear up the current confusion around federal policy on marijuana. The bill blocks federal authorities from interfering in the 18 states that have legalized medical marijuana, while separate legislation sets up a way to tax the drug.

"Frankly, the people in the federal hierarchy are in an impossible position," Blumenauer said. The bill "gets the federal government and the Department of Justice out of this never-never land." The bill's 13 co-sponsors include Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican. Analysts don't expect Blumenauer's bill to pass, but advocates believe another four states will legalize medicinal pot this year, making the federal government's current policy even harder to maintain.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, speaks during an interview in Portland.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, speaks during an interview in Portland.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Marijuana for sale at the grand opening of the Seattle location of the Northwest Cannabis Market for sales of medical marijuana products earlier this month.
Marijuana for sale at the grand opening of the Seattle location of the Northwest Cannabis Market for sales of medical marijuana products earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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