Powerful Senate Committee Ties Jeff Sessions’s Hands on Medical Marijuana

medical marijuana
A medical cannabis patient’s supply of medicine in their home. Source: Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance

Appropriations Committee Approves Amendment Defunding DOJ Medical Marijuana Enforcement; Strongest Signal yet that Congress Does Not Support Sessions’ Drug War Agenda

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—July 27, 2017. Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted by voice vote to approve an amendment that would block the Department of Justice from spending any funds to undermine state medical marijuana laws. The amendment – led by Senator Leahy (D-VT) – is a striking rebuke of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had personally requested that Congress eliminate the amendment and allow him to prosecute medical marijuana providers and patients. The amendment passed with strong Republican support, a sign that Sessions is isolated politically as rumors of a crackdown on marijuana businesses abound.

“The Senate is sending a clear message to Jeff Sessions – keep your hands off states that have reformed their marijuana laws,” said Michael Collins, Deputy Director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “Today’s vote is a huge win for the marijuana reform movement, because in the face of real pressure from the Department of Justice, the Senate has opted to block Jeff Sessions from interfering with any medical marijuana law.”

The amendment still has to make the final appropriations bill, but it has been added to the final government funding bill each year since 2014. The amendment is currently in effect after being signed into law this year, despite only receiving a vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The amendment – also known as Rohrabacher-Farr – has also been litigated in court with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that, while the amendment is in effect, DOJ cannot prosecute individuals who follow state law on medical marijuana. Currently, 29 states have full medical marijuana laws.

The vote comes one day after the Department of Justice announced that the Attorney General would implement DOJ task force recommendations on a rolling basis. It is expected that one of the task forces will develop guidance on how DOJ will deal with states that have legalized marijuana.

Source: www.drugpolicy.org

  • Freedom Rider

    Cannabis prohibition criminalizes people for freedom of choice in selecting a product that is much safer than alcoholic beverages or tobacco products. Cannabis prohibition is a ridiculous waste of police / court resources and taxpayer funds!!

    Cannabis is COMPLETELY LEGAL in California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington DC!

    28 US states have legalized cannabis for “medical use”. Uruguay and Jamaica are now completely legal, Canada will go fully legal in 2018 and Mexico is moving forward toward full legalization.

    According to FBI statistics:

    100 BILLION is spent on illegal recreational cannabis annually in the USA and all that money currently goes to criminals.

    30 BILLION is lost in potential tax revenue.

    15 BILLION is spent enforcing draconian cannabis laws that make no sense and destroy people’s lives daily.

    Data from the Center for Disease Control shows that cannabis is much safer than booze or tobacco!!

    Legalize, regulate and TAX!

  • Good Knight

    I’m a Trump supporter, but, he and the Republicans were elected to repeal Obamacare, reform the tax code, enforce immigration laws, invest in infrastructure, and build a wall. Apparently they can’t get their act together to do any of that.

    If all they can accomplish is beat up on marijuana users, and the growing tide for legalization, well, frankly, that is not why they were sent to Washington. Since the Dems are lost in the left field weeds…Time for a new political party.