Senate Appropriations Committee Votes To Protect State Medical Marijuana Laws

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 11, 2015

    Members of the United States Senate Appropriations Committee voted by a margin of 2 to 1 today in favor of language limiting the Justice Department’s ability to take criminal action against state-licensed operations that are acting in full compliance with the medical marijuana laws of their states. The provision was offered as an amendment by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill.

    The Senate amendment mirrors language approved by the House last week in their version of the CJS bill.

    Passage of the provision reauthorizes protections signed into law last year, but which are set to expire this September.

    A vote by the full Senate and reconciliation with the House is necessary before the 2016 spending bill is transmitted to the President.

    25 responses to “Senate Appropriations Committee Votes To Protect State Medical Marijuana Laws”

    1. Judith says:

      medical marijuna should be federally approved Epilepsy seizures meds don’t work but marijuna does

    2. Julian says:

      Here is a listing on Senate votes from the DPA website:

      “We’re witnessing the death throes of the federal government’s war on medical marijuana.”– Michael Collins, DPA

      Here is the vote:

      Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) : YES
      Christopher Coons (D-DE): YES
      Dick Durbin (D-IL): YES
      Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): NO
      Patrick Leahy (D-VT): YES
      Jeff Merkley (D-OR): YES
      Barbara Mikulski (D-MD): YES
      Chris Murphy (D-CT): YES
      Patty Murray (D-WA): YES
      Jack Reed (D-RI): YES
      Brian Schatz (D-HI): YES
      Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH): YES
      Jon Tester (D-MT): YES
      Tom Udall (D-NM): YES
      Lamar Alexander (R-TN): YES
      Roy Blunt (R-MO): YES
      John Boozman (R-AR): NO
      Shelley Capito (R-WV): YES
      Bill Cassidy (R-LA): YES
      Thad Cochran (R-MS): NO
      Susan Collins (R-ME): YES
      Steve Daines (R-MT): YES
      Lindsey Graham (R-SC): NO
      John Hoeven (R-ND): NO
      Mark Kirk (R-IL): NO
      James Lankford (R-OK): NO
      Mitch McConnell (R-KY): NO
      Jerry Moran (R-KS): YES
      Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): YES
      Richard Shelby (R-AL): NO

      Pretty much every Democrat is on board except Feinstein. No surprise there. She did surprise us by voting yes on the VA marijuana amendment to keep the DOJ from interfering with VA recommendations for marijuana. 🙂 But then she flopped and voted no for no interference to medical marijuana :-(. So… relief to our veterans! Meanwhile let their families with neurodegenerative diseases and babies with epilepsy suffer a slow and painful death, right Feinstein? (Someone needs to rake that b!+$# over the coals…)

      The Republican count is 8 YES to 8 NO. Wow! A breakthrough in the Republican Senate! The score, at least in this committee, is now half and half up from the usual Republican prohibitionist majority. And speaking of “majority”, looks like ol Majority leader Mitch McConnell wants his hemp-cake and eat it too… He wants to vote yes on any industrial hemp amendment and vote no for the sick and our veterans. Hmm… wonder how long the wolf in hemp’s clothing will last? Someone should go up to him and be like “So now you’re going to provide some of your hemp research stock to this toddler suffering from severe seizures… Right Mr. McConnell?”
      McConnell: “Wwwwell Aaaaah, See Ahhhhm not so suuure… ssloooow an steady wins the race… Ayup!”
      Dirtbag. SOME one he knows needs treatment from marijuana, he’s just too in love with being Majority Leader to admit it and do his JOB. What a douche.

      Hey, but off that note, we’re winning votes every day now!

    3. sandy Mccloud says:

      I would like to know wha. all pharmaceutical companies think about this bill. Do thay support it?

    4. Galileo Galilei says:

      Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)

      Holy Shit! She is one of my Senators.

    5. TheOracle says:

      Thank you!

      Sooner the better.

      Just watched the CBS21 central Pennsylvania town hall medical marijuana forum with Montel Williams. Unbelievably heart-wrenching, and of course the jerk holding up the whole bill in the House, Rep. Matt Baker declined the invitation to attend. Out of sight out of mind, now he can continue to ignore everyone and keep it from getting out of committee.

      There was a plan for someone else on the committee he is in charge of to make a motion to move the Pennsylvania medical marijuana bill to a different House committee, which would have to be seconded by someone else on his committee.

      I certainly hope that the entire town hall meeting will be shown to House members as evidence of overwhelming public supports for MMJ in PA.

      I couldn’t make the town hall meeting because I got back too late from a medical appointment for the cancer I am battling, so I am so glad there was such a great turnout of patients like myself who got to tell their stories and the stories of their loved ones who could benefit from MMJ. Of course the prohibitionists are still stalling calling for more research. We all tired of waitin!

    6. Mark I. says:

      If the Senate rescheduled cannabis, they would be making the legislation the voters are requesting.

    7. Raven says:

      OK. what exactly does this acomplish? I’ll concede that these are a few base hits. However Obama could still order his AG (Lynch) to begin the (Title 21 {Sub-chapter I}) process to deschedule cannabis from the CSA listings. Obama knows this (via Choen). I can’t help but to feel placated by all of this “beating-around the bush” budgetary manuvers around Grassley’s Judiciary committee. Am I wrong here????????

    8. TheOracle says:

      I hope that Pennsylvania legalizes, and that the feds do something to make cannabis banking legal and to get the IRS off our backs.

      The bill needs amending to expand what is allowed. The report states that in its current form “only a handful of diseases are approved and only oils and ointments derived from marijuana will be allowed.” Smoking is still prohibited.

      There was a medical marijuana political forum Thursday evening, June 11, and Montel Williams was one of the panel members.

      Thank you very much, Montel!

      I was glad he mentioned the pro-cannabis advocacy he is doing in other states.

      Thanks to Cannabis Culture for publishing an article about it.


      You can watch this medical marijuana town hall meeting and read more information about it at the links.

      Main page, has links to town hall forum which is split into 3 video links, each about 30 minutes long. Starts off with an advertisement for Rock Bass Grill, and there are also videos about the gathering on the steps of the capital where the public gave speeches along with politicians who gave speeches, basically everyday folks having their say and they politicians who are implementing what the public says it wants.

      First segment gives background information.

      First 30 minutes: http://www.local21news.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/Part-1-Your-Voice-Your-Future-medical-marijuana-debate-148116.shtml

      Seconde 30 minutes:


      Meanwhile the witch hunt on the cannabis community is still on. Cannabis prohibition is alive and well in Pennsylvania.

      Here’s an article from LancasterOnline, a regional newspaper’s online edition.

      Police: Large indoor marijuana-growing operation in Manheim Twp stopped

      It turns out that 3 people lived in 2 different houses were apparently growing 18 plants in the one house and garage. Says the entire lower level was converted to a grow room. That must mean the basement, one big room lower level.

      So what if they had 20 ballasts set up. That’s only 6 plants apiece. There could have been other people who were going to join the cannabis collective. I mean, the state is holding up this shit and people are tired of waiting and are just saving themselves and people they are caregivers for.

      Ultraviolet lighting? They called the electricity provider PPL, the electric company in other words, to send over people to unplug the ballasts because they thought they were dangerous. Keystone Kopz need some cannabis education or else the reporter who wrote the story. These are the strangest paragraphs in the article:

      “The 18 plants were growing in the garage, which had been outfitted with ultraviolet lighting connected to timers, carbon dioxide generators and a sophisticated irrigation system, police said.

      “The lights were serviced by 20 electrical ballasts that had to be disconnected by PPL officials for the safety of the officers prior to a detailed search,” the police news release said.”

      There’s scaremongering in there. Ultraviolet light overexposure and skin cancer. Is that what they’re implying? That’s backfill because right next is mention of safety.

      This is weird too:
      “Detectives “believe that the plants were being cared for in a manner in which each plant could be harvested multiple times,” the statement said.”

      If the detectives have figured out that the 3 were regenerating females for multiple harvests, how could they not know the proper references for the lighting ballasts, and why would they be afraid to unplug the ballasts themselves? Kopz needed electricians to disconnect all the extra outlets they had run for the ballasts. Well, was it overloading or what? Doesn’t say. In Colorado, all that shit has to be inspected so that it’s not a potential danger.

      All these arrests are just a damn shame.


      Call off the witch hunt. Legalize.

    9. TheOracle says:

      This just in from Huffington Post, cops raid a Santa Ana dispensary and then have a little edible pot party there.

      Their behavior is absolutely appalling.

      Legalize now.


    10. Fireweed says:

      I’ve been smoking since before many of these lawmakers have been born! With all the evidence out there about marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties, I think any use is “medical.” Isn’t prevention better than cure?