Marijuana dispensary says ‘the stoners’ are winning in Congress

The largest U.S. medical marijuana dispensary has a message for Congress: "Wake up and smell the cannabis," because "the stoners" are winning the debate.

The Oakland, Calif-based Harborside Health Center made the statement Friday while praising House passage of a proposal to block the federal government from targeting medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

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Approval of the amendment from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) has been a goal of the medical cannabis movement for "almost 20 years," said Steve DeAngelo, executive director of the Harborside Health Center.

"Its passage is a clear sign of our movement's growing political sophistication and potency," DeAngelo said in a statement. "Prohibitionists who predicted 'the stoners' would just lose motivation and forget about it have been proven decisively wrong."

DeAngelo also called on federal law enforcement officials to drop actions against medical cannabis users operating legally in their states.

The Republican-led House approved the Rohrabacher proposal early Friday in a vote of 219-189. The language is part of a 2015 spending bill for the Justice and Commerce departments, which also passed the House early Friday.

Approval by the lower chamber is not enough for the language to become law. The Senate must also include the amendment in its appropriations bill, and the two measures must be reconciled into a version that President Obama will sign.

The Rohrabacher amendment specifically prohibits the Drug Enforcement Administration from spending money to arrest or prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers who are approved by their states.

It follows a series of raids of marijuana facilities by the Justice Department in some of the 22 states where the drug is legal for medical use.

The measure split the Republican Doctors Caucus.

Anesthesiologist Andy Harris (R-Md.) said medical marijuana was "not modern medicine" during a floor debate and urged members to oppose the amendment.

Another member, general practitioner Paul Broun (R-Ga.), said medical marijuana has "very valid medical uses under direction of a doctor" and is "less dangerous than some narcotics prescribed … all over the country."

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