US House Votes to Prohibit DOJ From Interfering With State Medical Marijuana or Industrial Hemp Programs

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director May 30, 2014

    After a long debate that had the US House of Representatives in session until after midnight, the lower chamber of Congress cast a historic 219 to 189 vote to restrict 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.

    This measure was co-sponsored by Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Reps. Rohrabacher (R-Calf.), 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.). You can read the full text of the amendment here.

    170 Democrats and 49 Republicans voted in favor of the amendment, 172 Republicans and 17 Democrats voted against it. You can view the full vote breakdown here.

    “It would be hard to overstate the importance of tonight’s vote,” said NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “Approval of this amendment is a resounding victory for basic compassion and common sense.”

    Added NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano, “This vote marks one of the first times since the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 that a majority of the members of a chamber Congress have acted in a manner that significantly alters federal marijuana policy.”

    “The conflicting nature of state and federal marijuana laws has created an untenable situation,” co-sponsor Rep. Blumenauer said just before the House debate. “It’s time we take the federal government out of the equation so medical marijuana business owners operating under state law aren’t living in constant fear of having their doors kicked down in the middle of the night.”

    The House also approved amendments that prohibit the DOJ and DEA from using funds to interfere with state sanctioned industrial hemp cultivation.

    In February, members of Congress approved language (Section 7606) in the omnibus federal farm bill authorizing states to sponsor hemp research absent federal reclassification of the plant. Since then, five states — Hawaii, Indiana, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Utah — have enacted legislation authorizing state-sponsored hemp cultivation. (Similar legislation is pending in Illinois and South Carolina.) In total, more than a dozen states have enacted legislation redefining hemp as an agricultural commodity and allowing for state-sponsored research and/or cultivation of the crop

    These amendments were made to the 2015 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill, which now must be approved by the Senate and then signed by President Obama.

    NORML will keep you updated on this evolving situation.

    108 responses to “US House Votes to Prohibit DOJ From Interfering With State Medical Marijuana or Industrial Hemp Programs”

    1. Mattymo says:

      Wow, this is big

    2. johnny utah says:

      does this mean we can order cannabis seeds through the mail .

    3. Rev. Wolfgang P. Descalso says:

      Wake up Texas I am ill and need THE safe medications without the criminal lawyer doctors and corporations involved in my illness

    4. Druk says:

      You know what would be a sure-fire way to keep the DOJ from interfering? Drop it off of Schedule I.

      But nah, let’s beat around the bush some more.

    5. Jeff says:

      Awesome! It’s about time.

    6. Weed The People says:

      Fat lady is clearing her throat….
      This is huge news. Happy days are almost here.
      Now if only Gov. Cuckold Cuomo can grow a set & join the rest of the human race.

    7. Potimism says:

      Baby steps ?

    8. ken says:

      where is the list of yes no votes?

    9. JAY says:

      We should have pissed off Mitch Mcconnell sooner.

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