Image of state legalized medical marijuana
 
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to rein in the DEA.
~
Just last week, in a series of successful amendments to the Justice Department appropriations bill, the House sent a clear message to the DEA and DOJ to stop interfering in medical marijuana states. Today, a similar message came from the Senate.
 
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted two-to-one today in favor of an amendment from Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) that prohibits the Justice Department, including the DEA, from using federal funds to interfere in the implementation of state medical marijuana laws.
 
While the appropriations bill must still be approved by the Senate as a whole, both houses of Congress are now on record as telling the DEA to butt out of medical marijuana states. The passage of identical amendments in both houses is a good indicator that they will be included in the spending bill when it gets to President Obama's desk.  
 
While the House has passed similar amendments for the last two years, this is the first time it was offered in the Senate. It mirrors the provisions of the CARERS Act (HR 1538/S.683), introduced earlier this year, but because a ban in an appropriations bill expires at the end of the fiscal year, advocates are still calling for the CARERS Act to move.
 
The vote was an impressive 21-9, with the only Democrat voting against it being Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Republicans split right down the middle, with eight opposing and eight supporting.
 
Drug reform advocates were pleased.
 
"This is another resounding victory for medical marijuana patients, their families, and their care providers. Congress is making it clear that the Department of Justice and the DEA have no business interfering in state medical marijuana laws," said Dan Riffle, director of federal policy for the Marijuana Policy Project.
 
"The goal of this amendment is to provide deference to the states, making it strikingly similar to the operative provisions of the CARERS Act. Unfortunately, that bipartisan bill has languished for months in the Senate Judiciary Committee because Chairman Chuck Grassley has refused to hold hearings on it. The Senate spoke loudly and clearly today. Hopefully Sen. Grassley was listening," Riffle continued.
 
"With so many votes going our way these days, each new one gets less and less exciting. But that’s a good problem to have," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. We’re entering an era where marijuana reform is accepted as mainstream and not seen as controversial, and that’s exactly where we want to be. With this vote, it’s now clear that a growing bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers are ready to get the federal government out of the way of the effective implementation of state marijuana laws. These temporary funding restrictions certainly help us to demonstrate political momentum, but the next step should be passing legislation to permanently change federal law."
 
~

Recent News Articles

Friday May 17

Massachusetts is moving forward with marijuana cafes - Cannabis News

in U.S. News

by Bruce Kennedy - Editor in Chief

As more and more recreational marijuana shops open across Massachusetts, state regulators turned their focus…

1365 hits

Friday May 17

Can Cannabis Help Patients In Pain Avoid Opioids? Many Are Trying - Cannabis News

in Medical News

by Bruce Kennedy - Editor in Chief

For some people, pot is more appealing than powerful opioids.

1765 hits

Friday May 17

North Dakota changes law to help veterans get medical marijuana - Cannabis News

in Law & Crime

by Bruce Kennedy - Editor in Chief

Veterans in North Dakota can now get medical marijuana, without a doctor's recommendation.

1704 hits

Friday May 17

The Oxford English Dictionary Has Added Lots Of New Canna-Vocabulary - Cannabis News

in Culture & Arts

by Bruce Kennedy - Editor in Chief

The word ‘cannabis’ now has several sub-entries which reflect the new world of legal weed.

1708 hits

Monday May 20

State Treasurers Group Endorses Marijuana Banking Legislation - Cannabis News

in Politics

by Bruce Kennedy - Editor in Chief

A group representing state treasurers and finance officials is formally calling on Congress to pass…

738 hits