House would block Feds from interfering with state pot laws

June 20, 2019 - 4:54 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-controlled House has voted to block the Justice Department from interfering with states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

The bipartisan 267-165 vote represents a breakthrough for advocates of legalizing pot, who have unsuccessfully pressed the idea in the past under GOP control of the House. Although 11 states have legalized marijuana for personal use, possessing and selling the drug remains a federal offense. Lawmakers have already enacted protections for the 47 states where medical marijuana is legal.

Attorney General William Barr said during his confirmation hearing in January that the Justice Department would not go after marijuana companies in states where cannabis is legal, even though the drug is outlawed under federal law.

The vote came on an amendment to a pending Justice Department spending bill.

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