WASHINGTON - Libertarian-minded and moderate Republicans joined forces early Friday morning with Democrats in an early morning House vote to block the federal government from interfering with states that permit the use of medical marijuana.
The unusual coalition produced a surprising 219-189 vote in the GOP-controlled House that reflects more permissive public attitudes toward medical pot use. It ran counter to the drug's official classification as holding "no currently accepted medical use" and a "high potential for abuse."
Friday's vote came as the House debated a bill funding the Justice Department's budget. Forty-nine Republicans joined all but 17 Democrats who voted in approving a provision to block the Justice Department from interfering with state laws permitting the "use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."