Home»Legislation/Policy»Lone Texas GOP Congressman supports ending federal medical marijuana raids

Lone Texas GOP Congressman supports ending federal medical marijuana raids

US HouseAn amendment recently passed by the U.S. House aimed at restricting interference by federal agents in state medical marijuana programs got very little support from Texas representatives.

What may be surprising to Texans is that of their 36 representatives in congress, only one co-sponsored the bill, a Republican. While some Democrats did vote for it, none stepped up to sponsor it.

By a 219-189 vote, an amendment largely carried forward by two California representatives Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican, and Sam Farr, a Democrat, sent a clear message that regardless of what happens, progress in reforming marijuana laws in congress is possible.

The amendment would prevent the Department of Justice and the DEA from spending federal funds to launch attacks against state compliant medical marijuana programs.

“States with medical marijuana laws are no longer the outliers; they are the majority,” Rep. Farr said in a statement following the vote. “This vote showed that Congress is ready to rethink how we treat medical marijuana patients in this country. This amendment gives states the right to determine their own laws for medical marijuana use; free of federal intervention. It also gives patients comfort knowing they will have safe access to the medical care legal in their state without the fear of federal prosecution.”

“While momentum is on our side, there is still work to be done to get this bill out of the Senate,” Rep. Farr continued. “In the meantime, the federal government can continue to prosecute medical marijuana patients. This is more than just a waste of taxpayer dollars; it needlessly destroys lives and tears families apart. The majority of states and now the House of Representatives have clearly stated this absurd policy needs to stop. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to pass this amendment and remove the burden weighing down on so many patients in our country.”

Texas GOP congressman Steve Stockman was one of five Republicans to co-sponsor the bill, along with six Democrats. He was also the lone Texas GOP vote in favor of the amendment. Stockman was joined by seven Democratic representatives from Texas. Two Democrats did not record a vote on the matter.

Stockman challenged U.S. Senator John Cornyn in the GOP primary earlier this year but failed to unseat him, drawing 250,759 votes, a little over 19% against Cornyn’s  778,967 votes, nearly 60%. He did not seek re-election in his seat and his term will end after 2014.

Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medical use, with five others allowing some form of cannabis extract, primarily CBD oils, for treating children with various disorders involving seizures.

The amendment now rides with the bill to the Senate where it is uncertain what will happen. Activist groups have been urging people to contact their senators and voice their support of this amendment and bill, specifically, Amendment 748 to H.R. 4660.

A standard appropriations bill, H.R. 4660 provides funding to various governmental departments, which includes the DoJ and DEA.

There were a total of 84 amendments to the bill, with five of them coming from Texas representatives. This included:

Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, District 18, who sponsored two amendments
Ted Poe of Humble, District 2
Bill Flores of Bryan, District 17
Lamar Smith of San Antonio, District 21

Full voting results of each Texas representative can be found below. Find your district and representative here.

Y = Yes, N = Nay, X = No Vote

Democrats – Castro, Y; Cuellar, N; Doggett, Y; Gallego, N; Green, Al, X; Green, Gene, Y; Hinojosa, N; Jackson Lee, Y; Johnson, E. B., Y; O’Rourke, Y; Veasey, Y; Vela, X.

Republicans – Barton, N; Brady, N; Burgess, N; Carter, N; Conaway, N; Culberson, N; Farenthold, N; Flores, N; Gohmert, N; Granger, N; Hall, N; Hensarling, N; Johnson, Sam, N; Marchant, N; McCaul, N; Neugebauer, N; Olson, N; Poe, N; Sessions, N; Smith, N; Stockman, Y; Thornberry, N; Weber, N; Williams, N.

By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a 30 year old journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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3 Comments

  1. sinsibility
    June 1, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    This is important voter decision making data for election day. I wish these statistics were available for PA, and every state. Then we know where our vote goes.

  2. Kevin White
    June 2, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Congressman Burgess,

    I am disappointed to learn that you voted AGAINST the recent bill that would prevent the DEA and other Federal agencies from going after medicinal marijuana users and dispensers. You are simply on the wrong side of this issue. I’m a fiscal conservative voter and proud Texan and I’m not a cannabis user. However, attitudes like this will cost the conservatives dearly as attitudes shift.

    It makes no sense to continue with this failed, costly, unjust, and reprehensible policy of trying to usurp states’ rights and use the ugly, coercive power of government to destroy lives by incarcerating folks for using or distributing a plant that’s been used for thousands of years, that’s been prescribed, and that is legal in that state. Please stop!

    Cannabis should be moved immediately off of the “Schedule 1” and the DEA should immediately cease these brutal activities against our citizens. I just can’t fathom how someone in this day and age can think it’s a good idea to vote against something that tries to reign in this insanity. Things like this are why, though I’m very much a fiscal conservative, I can never identify with the anti-freedom GOP and I find myself pushed to considering Democratic candidates.

    Please reconsider your position regarding this issue when the inevitable additional legislation comes along. Thank you.

  3. […] comes just after a congressional vote on a federal amendment which would help put a stop to federal raids on state-compliant medical […]