GOP-controlled Hill panel backs state medical marijuana laws

The federal government would be unable to block state laws permitting the use of medical marijuana under legislation that has been approved by a Republican-controlled Senate committee.

The 20-10 vote puts the Senate Appropriations panel on record in favor of permitting people to obtain and dispensaries to provide medicinal marijuana in states where it’s permitted and regulated.

The vote on an amendment by Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski supports a current policy, which was established in last year’s catchall spending bill after the GOP-run House voted in favor of it. It was attached to a Justice Department funding bill.

Almost half the states allow medical marijuana, which remains an illegal drug under federal law. But federal authorities have adopted a hands-off approach to states that have adopted lenient marijuana laws.

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