Historic vote cast

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted 218 to 189 on May 30 to withhold federal funds for the enforcement of federal laws that interfere with state government-approved medical marijuana programs.

All four Nevada House members supported the amendment, which was added to a criminal justice funding bill (H.R. 4660).

The vote was treated in California as a message to President Obama and his U.S. attorneys in that state who have cracked down on medical dispensaries in spite of Obama's pledges to leave state programs alone. The amendment was sponsored by California Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican, and Sam Farr, a Democrat. It tapped into some Republican libertarian sentiment, which—when joined with traditional Democratic votes—resulted in a very rare pro-marijuana vote in Congress. It's not clear whether there has been another pro-marijuana vote in the House since 1937, when the plant was banned at the behest of alcohol and timber lobbies and over the objections of the American Medical Association.

170 Democrats and 49 Republicans voted for the amendment, 172 Republicans and 17 Democrats against.