House to Vote on Defunding Medical Marijuana Raids

It's that time of year again, when the House Appropriations Committee considers the annual DOJ budget. In the next several days, an amendment will be offered defunding medical marijuana raids in states with laws permitting use of medical marijuana.

Representatives Rohrabacher and Farr will be introducing an amendment to this measure to prevent any of the department’s funding from being used to interfere with medical marijuana programs in states that have approved them.

The amendment would prevent the Department of Justice from using taxpayer funds to interfere in state-sanctioned medical marijuana programs.

21 states plus the District of Columbia currently allow medical marijuana. Legislation is pending in an additional six states to do the same.

The amendment would not prevent the feds from going after those who are not in compliance with state laws. (Who determines compliance? The feds, of course.)

From Rohrabacher's press release:

“Patients and providers currently run the risk,” said Rohrabacher, “of having a federal SWAT Team-like police force raid their home or their place of business because of consumption of a plant. The militarization of the police force in order to prevent grandma from smoking an herb that will ease her pain during her last days on this earth is the type of thing that ought to make every conservative shudder.

“The harassment from the Drug Enforcement Agency,” he continued, “is something this body [Congress] should not tolerate. Businesspeople who are licensed and certified to provide doctor-recommended medicine within their own states have seen their businesses locked down, assets seized, and customers driven away.”

Senator Patrick Leahy raised this issue at the Senate Judiciary Committee last September:

“It is important, especially at a time of budget constraints, to determine whether it is the best use of federal resources to prosecute the personal or medicinal use of marijuana in states that have made such consumption legal,” Leahy said. “I believe that these state laws should be respected. At a minimum, there should be guidance about enforcement from the federal government.”

Since the feds claim their existing policy targets those who are not in compliance with state law, I'm not sure this would have much effect. Plus, it's not enough. What is needed is a federal law that decriminalizes all personal use and possession of marijuana (not just medical), removes marijuana from the list of controlled substances, disallows forfeiture for marijuana growers and sellers acting in conformity with the laws of their state, repeals mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana offenses and leaves the regulation of marijuana to the individual states.

The full text of H.R. 4660, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015, as passed by committee on May 8 and introduced for consideration by the full House is here. The House Report accompanying the budget bill is here.

DOJ's full budget and summaries are here.

< Sunday Night Open Thread | FARC and Colombia Reach Accord on Drugs >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I hope they're careful about the wordcraft... (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Mr Natural on Mon May 19, 2014 at 11:31:22 PM EST
    or the DEA's creative destroyers will be able to skirt the intent of the amendment by funding their raids with the proceeds of previous asset forfeitures.

    That could make things hell for so many innocent (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 20, 2014 at 12:45:34 PM EST
    People.  There needs to be a law so the law can't just destroy the lives of the innocent.

    Is it a move (none / 0) (#1)
    by Mikado Cat on Mon May 19, 2014 at 02:16:10 AM EST
    in the right direction, or cover for business as usual?

    Seems like a move in the right direction to me, moving the discussion away from criminal, toward legal.

    Well (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 19, 2014 at 09:27:25 PM EST
    If nothing else Rohrabacher knows which way the wind blows.

    Rohrabacher may be a Republican, but, (none / 0) (#5)
    by NYShooter on Tue May 20, 2014 at 03:35:37 PM EST
    being a Californian also means he has nothing in common with the Republicans in the Red Southern, and, Mid-Western States.

    Having lived in Tennessee for the last 2-3 years, after decades in New York (in, and, around NYC)   please, believe me when I tell you that "Red & Blue" don't constitute States, they constitute Countries. The differences are complete, as in, total. They may seem subtle in a lot of ways, but, they are truly profound.

    It's been a fascinating couple of years for me, and, I'd love to get into it in more detail, but, here & now is not the time, nor the place.