President Signs Federal Spending Bill Protecting State Sanctioned Medical Marijuana Programs

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director December 16, 2014

    President Barack Obama signed spending legislation into law on Tuesday that includes provisions limiting the Justice Department’s ability to take criminal action against state-licensed individuals or operations that are acting are in full compliance with the medical marijuana laws of their states.

    Specifically, an amendment sponsored by California Reps. Dana Rohrbacher and Sam Farr to the $1.1 trillion spending bill states, “None of the funds made available in this act to the Department of Justice may be used … to prevent … states … from implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

    Said Farr following Congress’ passage of the legislation: “The federal government will finally respect the decisions made by the majority of states that passed medical marijuana laws. This is great day for common sense because now our federal dollars will be spent more wisely on prosecuting criminals and not sick patients.”

    Similar language prohibiting the Justice Department from undermining state-sanctioned hemp cultivation programs was also included in the bill.

    Also contained in the appropriations measure is a rider sponsored by Maryland Republican Andy Harris that seeks to limit DC officials’ ability to fully implement a November 2014 municipal initiative depenalizing the personal adult possession and cultivation of cannabis. At this time however, it remains unclear whether the enacted language is written in a manner that can actually do so. On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson “plans to ignore the provision” and that he will “send a bill implementing Initiative 71 to Congress in January for a 30-day review, during which federal lawmakers can veto it or let it stand.” Such a review is necessary before any DC initiative can become law.

    Washington DC’s Initiative 71, which was approved by 70 percent of District voters, removes criminal and civil penalties regarding the adult possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to six plants.

    66 responses to “President Signs Federal Spending Bill Protecting State Sanctioned Medical Marijuana Programs”

    1. Julian says:

      Congratulations NORML! What a proud day to be an American. This is what progress looks like.

    2. wes says:

      I have been an enthusiast since the early 80s and started reading High Times Magazine where i was introduced to Norml. We have come a long way and I truly believe that if not for this organization the laws would not be changing in our favor. Thanks for all of the hard work and dedication… http://www.howtogrowweed420.com/1762.html

    3. Miles says:

      Our elected leaders did the right thing regarding medical marijuana – finally. I know that there are some in Congress that will do everything in their power to stop the will of the people regarding marijuana however.

      Andy Harris, the Republican Congressman from Maryland, is doing everything he can to stop anyone and everyone from using marijuana for any reason. He is in bed with Kevin Sabet of SAM. It’s disgusting! Here is a link to check out to see the truth of my words:


      If you live in Maryland, you all need to do everything in your power, like voting, calling Mr. Harris, writing him, emailing him, and etc because he wants to shut you down. I say, let’s shut him down. He does not have your best interest or wishes at heart. He wants to send you either to prison or to a rehab clinic if you’re caught with any amount. It’s ridiculous and this kind of reefer madness needs to end!

      Andy Harris – Salute (middle finger only).

      Don’t let Harris get away with this unpunished.

    4. Andrea Allen says:

      I JUST WANT TO THANK NORM 1 & 430 and everyone that put it down and got the Job done the best and the brightest iam so proud of u guys and ladies thank u all for your hard work Now we have to get the other 26 More State to get cannabis legal.and r voiced heard. And Stop this madness I make pain OIL and it’s a MEDICAL oil A & E Organic Pain Oil. Thank u so so much

    5. phrtao says:

      Of course this measure will not stop ‘federal interference’ when it is claimed the cannabis in question is not for ‘medical’ purposes. But at least the feds will think twice since they will no doubt have to prove they are acting on good evidence and will not want to get on the wrong side of this bill.
      Another very important step that should see most states legalising medical cannabis.
      (cannabis has so many medical uses so pretty much anyone should have legal access to cannabis if they want it !!!)

    6. MSimon says:

      Why doesn’t the President reschedule on these grounds:

      Cannabis cures cancer. Cancer kills 586,000 Americans every year. Every Prohibitionist is complicit in mass murder.

    7. Galileo Galilei says:

      Looks like the kind of divided government we voted in the last several elections.

      The pro-medical marijuana + pro-hemp amendments ring beautifully to my ear. Real nice to see both D’s and R’s behind the names elsewhere on line.

      The anti-legalization amendment reads like a rich, powerful, self-righteous white guy stomping on the voting rights of a supermajority of an entire city’s black voters.

    8. MSimon says:

      We have to end prohibition.

      The Prohibitionists are involved in mass murder. The Reagan administration tried to suppress the finding that cannabis is effective against cancer. You can look it up. Of course the Democrats did nothing when they had a chance. Every Prohibitionist is complicit in mass murder.

    9. Pete Stockard says:

      Think you very much NORM. We are starting to win.

    10. Miles says:

      It looks like one of the big players in the next presidential election will be Republican Jeb Bush. He is totally against marijuana for any reason including medical. The Repub’s are idiots if they think the nation is going to vote for him – LOL! 🙂

      I’d vote for Jerry Seinfeld over him 🙂

      It would require zero thought to choose Hilary over Jeb 🙂

      The only Republican that has any real chance at winning the hearts of Freedom Loving Americans is Rand Paul. Jeb Bush is just an ignorant dinosaur.