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Federal Omnibus Includes Amendment to Prohibit DOJ/DEA From Interfering With State Medical Marijuana

  • by NORML December 9, 2014

    marijuana_seedlingThe final version of the House omnibus appropriations bill includes the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which was approved by the House of Representatives earlier this year. The amendment restricts the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration from using taxpayer funds to interfere in state-sanctioned medical marijuana programs in the 20+ states that have enacted them.

    NORML supporters have rallied in favor of this provision, with over 22,000 emails and countless direct calls being directed at federal lawmakers regarding the amendment this year.

    “This amendment is an important step towards relieving the tension between federal and state policy when it comes to medical marijuana,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “By restricting these agencies in this manner, the nearly two dozen states that implemented medical marijuana programs can hopefully breathe easier knowing federal money won’t be spent to interfere with their progress. We hope this leads to further reforms at the federal level further enshrining this sentiment into law.”

    The House is expect to hold a final vote on this bill in the next couple of days, with a Senate vote to follow. You can read the full bill here.

    28 Responses to “Federal Omnibus Includes Amendment to Prohibit DOJ/DEA From Interfering With State Medical Marijuana”

    1. Leave the States to decide on the cannabis issues. Personally,I believe that alcohol is more dangerous then cannabis.

    2. Dave Corner says:

      This is huge. I knew that the bill also allows DC to go ahead with Initiative 71 (“grow and give”) but prohibits the District from setting up regulated recreational sales, which in itself is historic because it means cannabis possession will be legal in our capital. But the inclusion of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment is inconceivably huge. I teared up when I read this. States now have a huge yoke off of their necks. This is really big.

    3. Galileo Galilei says:

      This Rohrabacher-Farr amendment seems like a good thing to me.

    4. DaveCorner says:

      WTF?!?!?!?!

      I just posted a comment about how relieved I was that the District’s initiative 71 would not be blocked by this “cromnibus” bill, although future regulations on legal recreational sales would be. But now I see some news outlets reporting that no, the entire Harris excretement would be included in the bill and that the District would not even be allowed to submit the new law to Congress. Looking through the news outlets, some are reporting A and some are reporting B and I am all like C how F’ed up this is?

    5. SgtStorm says:

      I’ll assume this won’t apply to the TSA …

      Med usage on federal land?

      Hmmm …

    6. Robyn says:

      if you want it to excel leave in our capable hands & you will see the true potential of this product.

    7. Dusty says:

      I just found the text of the bill. It is of course confusing. Here it is:

      SEC. 809.
      (a) None of the Federal funds contained in this Act may be used to enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) or any tetrahydrocannabinols derivative.
      (b) None of the funds contained in this Act may be used to enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) or any
      tetrahydrocannabinols derivative for recreational purposes.

      It is not clear to me if the “the funds contained in this Act” include locally collected revenues but it sounds to me like no they do not, in which case there is a loophole.

    8. Dave Evans says:

      No Dusty, this is the bill section:

      Sec. 538.
      None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

      and

      Sec. 539.
      None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    9. SgtStorm says:

      Isn’t this a de facto rescheduling of marijuana?

      [Editor’s note: Unfortunately riders in amendments to omnibus spending bills do not address the core mis-scheduling of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. Cannabis comes down or off schedule via Congressional, executive or court action (ie, DEA capitulates or loses an administrative law ruling and appeal).]

    10. SgtStorm says:

      This will certainly be a strong development for the California Federal District Court judge who is considering Schedule 1 status in the Pickard case. Congress just AUTHORIZED marijuana as medicine. I understand what you’re saying about how a drug is taken off the schedule, but I think one could EASILY argue that this amendment (unbeknownst to Congress) is a DE FACTO rescheduling of cannabis. Congress can’t authorize cannabis for medical use, while at the same time have a law that says cannabis has no medical use. The DOJ announcement allowing states to proceed with legalization is MUCH different than Congress passing a law that allows med use. I think Congress accidently just shot themselves in the foot as far as continued Schedule 1 status of cannabis. Oops.

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