Congressional Leadership Resists Bipartisan-Backed Marijuana Reforms

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate June 23, 2016

    CongressCongressional leaders have moved in recent days to quash a number of proposed marijuana law reforms.

    Specifically, provisions previously voted on by Congress to expand medical cannabis access to eligible military veterans were removed by leadership during the conference committee process. Members have yet to speak publicly as to why the language was removed. Both the Senate and the House versions of the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill contained the marijuana-friendly provisions prior to the reconciliation process.

    The move follows a decision earlier this week by Republican leaders on the House Rules Committee to deny members the opportunity to vote on a Democrat-sponsored amendment that sought to permit banks and other financial institutions to engage in relationships with state-compliant marijuana businesses. Senate Appropriations Committee members had approved a similar amendment last week by a vote of 16 to 14. That amendment, which is now included in the Senate’s version of the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, awaits further action on the Senate floor. If approved, the Senate bill will ultimately need to be reconciled in conference committee with House leadership.

    In April, NORML released a Congressional Scorecard assigning letter grades ‘A’ through ‘F’ to every member of the US House and Senate based on their marijuana-related comments and voting records. To see what grades your Congressional members received, please click here.

    39 responses to “Congressional Leadership Resists Bipartisan-Backed Marijuana Reforms”

    1. vickia 52 says:

      WTF they;re going backwards!

    2. TheOracle says:

      It doesn’t surprise me at all that the Party of No is being prohibitionist. The longer you’re in elected office the higher up you move in leadership and chairing and sitting on the more influential and important committees. The 65 and above age group is least likely to be in favor of anything pro-cannabis. If you look at the age of these Republicans, they’ll likely fall into that category, and they’ve put the younger prohibitionist Republicans in place a defensive tackles.


      Come on, Michael! Michael Botticelli, I am counting on you to deschedule marijuana. It’s less harmful than both alcohol and tobacco.

      • TheOracle says:

        Oh yeah, the link is for the rich carpetbaggers coming in from out of state who are guaranteed a competition-free medical marijuana marketplace in Pennsylvania to comment on how they want the Commonwealth to set up the regulations for dispensaries. The fix is in. Big Bucks will have the guaranteed profit of a fixed medical marijuana marketplace in Pennsylvania, as you’re not allowed to grow your own or form a cannabis collective or medical marijuana club. You can’t use the dried female flowers to smoke or to vaporize, so these big-buck outfits that make the tinctures and the cannabis cartridges for vaporizers are going to make a killing.

        • jacob says:

          Waiting for publicans to age out. there are no young Republicans, They’ll have to get with the times or be phased out. Sad itl take 15 years

    3. dt says:

      Mr Bennet’s cash men are bribing house leaders just like they did in Vermont. If they want to profit from prohibition really should move to Iran and work for their religious mafia.

      Really Bennett is getting fatter and lazier and not losing enough of his money in the slot machines.

    4. Mark Cook says:


      • Fireweed says:

        I can feel your anger and I can relate. I’m already wanting to sue them for obstructing any action on the zika virus. I hope they all get a case of guillon barre syndrome.

    5. Mark I. says:

      Old white men will be voted out of office in disgrace due to ignorance and intransigence.

    6. Anonymous says:

      The government has no right to keep anyone from smoking pot because god gave it to us read genesis

      • Don M says:

        Ironically, the Republican bible thumpers seem to be the people most in favor of continuing to ruin the lives of those of us that choose to use cannabis. I hope their god punishes them for this ignorant crapola!

    7. Cat Cassie says:

      What a bunch of miserable a$$holes. Wow when it comes to our veternans they should be denied nothing. How heartless can they be?

    8. kona Ohana says:

      It’s my opinion the Republican must be voted our of office. A national Effort by the Bernie Progressives to dump the GOP onto it’s ASS out of Congress & out of our lives. Permanently.

    9. Julian says:

      The poster faces of prohibition are from my district; Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Senator Cornyn… are the living epitome of bull$#!+ excuses for prohibition, wearing weathered, plastic smiles held up by beurocratic sherriff’s associations and private prison lobbyists, to name a few.

      But even in Texas their days are numbered.

      Both the Republican and Democratic platforms after both conventions here support expanding and improving the Compassionate Use Act and the legal cultivation of industrial hemp. Governor Abbott signed a bill that provides low levels of THC on both bills, said “I will never sign a medical marijuana bill” but admitted nonetheless through his signature that marijuana, with THC, is medicine.

      These are the bills that are going to pass in my state; the state many believed would be the last to legalize.

      With that said, is it obvious that more Democrats are taking the lead when the Democratic platform voted to “decriminalize marijuana like alcohol,” ? Yes… Of course.

      But what gets bills passed are bipartsan measures. Its when people in the districts of Chuck Grassley or in my district speak up to our representatives and let them know they are on the losing side of history, that Americans require we work and negotiate across the aisles to represent the majority of Americans that we begin to become part of the solution instead of the stay at home, no-voting problem.

      Take Action.

      Citizen lobby.

      Dont need a license to do it.
      Cant end prohibition without it.

      • YearofAction says:

        A citizen lobby is a great idea. What are your thoughts on citizens lobbying for marijuana reform based on constitutional principles, if those principles include a identifying marijuana as cannabis smoke, and continuing cannabis prohibition for publicly traded corporations for a period of time so as to allow local businesses and regulations to be developed?

        NORML already supports smoking marijuana, and the big corporations aren’t interested in marijuana according to this report from the Brookings Institution, so a citizen lobby could advocate a uniquely different point for our mutual benefit.


        This proposed reform of the federal definition of marijuana is formatted to conform to the Necessary and Proper clause, it restores the originally accepted practices of growing and reasonably using the cannabis plant by the People in accordance with the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, it restores the protection of the Supremacy clause to the People who grow and use the cannabis plant, it preserves the constitutional controls for its use which subsist within the current definition while allowing auxiliary corporate involvement, and it can be subsequently rescheduled because it upholds our Constitution:

        Sec.802.(16). The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L. which is prohibited to be grown by or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company.

        Compare to the current definition of marijuana shown here:

        Other uses for the plant Cannabis sativa L. are in Sec.7606 on page 264:

        So, this year IS a good time for the citizens to lobby and contact our representatives in Congress to enact this reform of the federal definition of marijuana.

        • mexweed says:

          If Sec. 802(16) is to be formatted to serve as an advertisement for Combustion $moking, when Vaporization is available (and even $aves money in the long run), maybe it’s reasonable to ask, what’s your vendetta against Vaping, did you try some advertised commercial utensil and have a respiratory disappointment with it? Or did you ever try Vaping at all?

          “The difference between A $moker and a Vaper is that the Vaper knows how to $moke and won’t, but a $moker most often is someone who hasn’t learned how to Vape yet.”

          Easy-learn technique with a flexdrawtube oneheater: $uck $mooth,$low, don’t $tart glow till after 19 $econds or $o. Easily handmade device at “12 Easy Ways to Make Vape Toke Utensils from #40 $creen and $1.29 Worth of Everyday Junk Left in Your Garage by the Previous God”.

          25-mg servings with a microdosage utensil will replace “Big Tobackgo” (700-mg commercial $ig) and “Big Marijuana” (500-mg Joint); Vape will replace $moking; Cannabis and hundreds of other (inventively bred) UNADDICTIVE inspiration herbs– basil, chamomile, damiana, dandelion, eucalyptus, fo-ti-tieng, ginseng leaf, hops flower, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme, peppermint, pennyroyal, etc.– will largely replace tobacco (but not entirely, “reformed” less addictive, more medicinal tobaccos will be grown and microdosed by users instead of “heavy $moking”, several grams burned per day as $ig addicts do.

          How will corporations make decent well earned money? Manufacture the utensils. Furnish herb (multi-species) sifted ready to toke in one-gram cannisters (40 servings at 25-mg). Build service towers along passageways where y0u can suck a toke etc.

          The oneheater serves as a transitional education device to convert the $mokers– they can light it up quick at first like they did a joint, then learn how to suck and heat (up to 19 seconds), more marley less monoxide.

          • mexweed says:

            The service towers let you serve the toke out of the wind, you step up, push a button, suck from a tube onto which you can first mount your personal mouthpiece if you’re feisty about germs. Image one at every bus stop, bike-lockup etc.

          • YearofAction says:

            “If Sec. 802(16) is to be formatted to serve as an advertisement for Combustion $moking, when Vaporization is available…”

            Like how alcohol prohibition was an advertisement for drinking alcohol?
            Like how the absence of the word smoke in the definition of marijuana has so successfully prevented cannabis smoking?
            Its more like how cannabis growing, possessing, vaping, dabbing, eating, and liquids-applying would be the unscheduled alternatives to the still debatable appropriate schedule for the production of medically viable, recreationally desirable, stinky, and offensive “marijuana smoking”.

            The question indicates some persistent misunderstanding, but the smoker/vaper quote is befitting. The proposed format serves the Constitution. Its placement in the Schedules is the advertisement against smoking. It is obvious that the current definition of marijuana has failed the Constitution and the People, so its correction is offered. The Responsible Smoker’s legal quest continues, while being facilitated in a non-obvious way.
            We just need to convince Congress to make the change.

            • Julian says:

              Weve been down this road before, Year. Its hard enough for an unlicensed citizen lobbyist to keep track of and focus on a specific topic in his or her state, like separating medical marijuana from discussions about industrial hemp from legislation about recreational marijuana without getting sidetracked by an arbitrary conversation about the definition of “smoked” cannabis. You wanna cash in on some quasi prohibition on smoked cannabis so states can still jail people for consuming marijuana the same way our ancestors have done since we speciated from homo erectus? Fine, go ahead. But for those of us who still think its immoral to incarcerate anyone, proportionately or otherwise, who privately smokes marijuana or is in posession of a joint, were going to keep citizen lobbying our legislators, city councils or who ever will listen that we are not going to sit down over prohibition of any kind any more, period.

    10. Galileo Galilei says:

      The move follows a decision earlier this week by Republican leaders on the House Rules Committee to deny members the opportunity to vote on a Democrat-sponsored amendment that sought to permit banks and other financial institutions to engage in relationships with state-compliant marijuana businesses.