House Passes DOJ Budget Amendment Restricting Funds Used to Fight Medical Marijuana

On Thursday night, the House of Representatives voted on the myriad of amendments to the proposed DOJ 2015 budget. Amendment No. 25, to prohibit the use of funds to prevent certain States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. passed, by a vote of 219 to 189. The roll call vote (no. 258) is here.

The Amendment was co-sponsored by Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Reps. Rohrabacher, Don Young (R-Alaska), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Steve Stockman (R-Texas), and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)

Rep. Steve Cohen said:

“Marijuana does not make people commit crime. It makes them overeat.”

Also passing: An amendment to prohibit the use of funds to prevent a State from implementing its own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of industrial hemp. Vote was 237 - 170 (Roll no. 257)

Critical to the amendment's passage:

“This year’s huge vote increase can largely be attributed to the fact that lawmakers only recently began hearing the moving stories of the many children whose severe seizures are only relieved by marijuana,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, in a statement. “Being able to list these CBD states in the amendment text meant that more members of Congress that represent these states voted yes than otherwise would have.

Counting these states, 60 percent of the U.S. population lives in a place where state law disagrees with federal law.” [More...]

Other Amendments:

  • Holding Amendment to prohibit the use of funds to transfer or temporarily assign employees to the Office of the Pardon Attorney for the purpose of screening clemency applications. Agreed to by recorded vote: 219 - 189 (Roll no. 259)
  • Cohen Amendment to reduce funding for salaries and expenses, Drug Enforcement Administration, by $18 million and to increase funding for payment to the Legal Services Corporation by $15 million: Failed.
  • Jared Polis amendment to reduce funding for the Salaries and Expenses, Drug Enforcement Administration by $35,000,000. Failed
  • An amendment to reduce funding for Salaries and Expenses, Federal Prison System by $1 million and increase funding for State and Local Law Enforcement Activities (criminal justice programs) by a similar amount. Passed.
  • An amendment numbered 13 printed in the Congressional Record to strike sections 528 and 529 which prohibit the use of funds to be used to transfer or release any detainee who is or was held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba or construct any facility in the U.S. to house any detainee held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Failed.
  • An amendment numbered 15 printed in the Congressional Record to prohibit the use of funds for operation, renovation, or construction at Thomson Correctional Facility in Illinois. Failed.

Some other amendments to reduce salaries and expenses of the Bureau of Prisons passed, with the money going to state law enforcement. Given the overcrowding at our federal prisons, the persons who will feel the brunt of this are the inmates. Congress needs to change the laws under which so many go to prison for far too long, rather than cut salaries and expenses. Let the states fund their own law enforcement programs.

The best way to end marijuana raids is to remove it from the controlled substance list and legalize it. That way, the DEA would have find another reason to raid. What happens if the DEA believes the person/grower/distributor is not in compliance with a state's law and the state disagrees? Since the feds dole out the money, it shouldn't be that difficult for them to convince their own department of the need for the raid. If they are wrong, will the feds avoid having to return the spent money by claiming they believed in "good fait"h they had grounds to raid?

I think this amendment is more symbolic of change rather than representing change itself. It also has to clear the Senate before becoming law.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Ha (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:44:05 AM EST
    "Marijuana does not make people commit crime. It makes them overeat."

    Michelle isn't going to like it

    children with seizures (none / 0) (#2)
    by thomas rogan on Fri May 30, 2014 at 04:26:35 PM EST
    These children need CBD in pill or concentrate form.  They do not need to smoke "medical marijuana".

    You threw us off (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by NYShooter on Fri May 30, 2014 at 04:49:31 PM EST
    when you forgot to add, "M.D." after your name.