Congress passes legislation which blocks federal intervention in medical marijuana states
After clearing the House, a new spending bill has now passed the Senate to fund the federal government through well into 2015. It also includes an amendment which blocks the Department of Justice from arresting or prosecuting anyone who sells or uses medical marijuana in the 32 states that currently have some type of medical marijuana law on the books.
However, also included in that bill is an amendment which blocks the city council in Washington, D.C. from spending any money to implement marijuana legalization in the nation’s capital after resident there overwhelmingly voted in favor of legalized cannabis at the polls in November.
The bill requires a signature from President Obama to officially become law, and once signed, would effectively end federal raids against medical marijuana dispensaries.
The language specifically blocks the use of DOJ funds to “prevent [medical marijuana states] from implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
Almost 80 percent of Americans support medical marijuana.
There are also provisions which prohibit the interference by federal agents in the production of hemp in the 18 states it has been legalized in.
Obama approved a law in February that sanctioned state-level industrial hemp production, but just three months later the DEA nevertheless seized a batch of hemp seeds in Kentucky.
Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, a Republican, was a co-sponsor of the amendment.
In all, the amendment passed 219-189, with eight Texas representatives voting in support of it.
The amendment was first introduced in 2007, however it failed 262-165. Various forms of the amendment have been introduced since 2003.
Other amendments included in the bill which were submitted by Texas representatives include:
Rep. Flores (R-TX) – The amendment prohibits funding to implement the National Ocean Policy and ocean zoning under Executive Order 13547 without explicit congressional authorization. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Rep. Poe (R-TX) – The amendment prohibits funding to impose a fine on individuals for failing to complete the American Community Survey. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Rep. Smith (R-TX) – The amendment reduces and then adds back $15.35 million within the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research and Related Activities account. The sponsor’s
intent is to support physical sciences. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 208-201.
Rep. Gallego (D-TX) – The amendment increases funding for the Violence Against Women Act by $2.5 million, offset by a reduction in state and local law enforcement assistance grants. The
intent of the amendment is to help address domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in rural areas. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Rep. Jackson-Lee (D-TX) – The amendment prohibits funds for the DOJ Administrative Review and Appeals to be used in contravention of sections 509 and 510 of title 28, United
States Code. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Rep. Jackson-Lee (D-TX) – The amendment increases funding for Violence Against Women Act Programs by $500,000, offset by a reduction in the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Salaries and
Expenses account. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.