December 10, 2009 CNN
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Source: LAURA EVANS/myfoxdc
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A controversial move by the U.S. House of Representatives has given the green light on some hot-button issues, including lifting a ban on the District’s medical marijuana law.
It was an historic move in the House, and a victory for Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.
Congress voted Thursday to allow the District to use city money to pay for abortions for low income women, to implement a medical marijuana law, and continue a needle exchange program.
In 1998, D.C. voters approved medical marijuana, but it was blocked when Congress voted to stop D.C. from setting its own drug policies. As for the needle exchange program, a ban on it was removed last year, but Republicans sough to reattach it to the bill.
Delegate Norton says Thursday’s vote marks the first time in her memory that no conditions were attached to the spending bill, and she released this statement:
“We will never make up for the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has besieged this city because needle exchange was banned for a decade, or make up for the resulting loss of lives. There is no way to make poor women, forced to carry pregnancies to term, believe that their reproductive choice was guaranteed in the decades during the longest of the bans, on using local funds for abortions for poor women. But, today we start a new chapter in democracy in the District of Columbia with the first D.C. appropriations in memory free of all un-democratic, anti-home rule riders.”
There is a federal ban on medical marijuana, leaving the decision to implement programs up to each state. Fifteen states currently allow medical marijuana.
The budget still needs Senate approval, and because the city is under federal control, it requires congressional approval. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.