House Rules Committee Blocks Marijuana Amendments

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director September 7, 2017

    FBScorecardLate Wednesday night, the House Rules Committee led by prohibitionist Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX) blocked multiple amendments related to marijuana from receiving consideration by the full House, thus ending their consideration and silencing the ability for the lower chamber to offer protections from Attorney General Jeff Sessions when it comes to cannabis.

    Amendments included: ending the federal incentive to revoke drivers licenses from those charged with marijuana offenses; protections for states that have implemented hemp programs; a reduction in funding for the DEA’s cannabis eradication program; expanded access to researchersprotections for banks to provide services to marijuana businesses; allowing the District of Columbia to implement adult-use sales, and expanded protections to the eight states that have outright legalized marijuana.

    Most notably, the amendment offered by Representatives Dana RohrabacherEarl Blumenauer, and other allies in the House had again offered the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment to continue to protect lawful state medical marijuana programs from the federal government. Specifically, the language maintains that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

    Representatives Blumenauer and Rohrabacher released the following statement in response:

    “By blocking our amendment, Committee leadership is putting at risk the millions of patients who rely on medical marijuana for treatment, as well as the clinics and businesses that support them. This decision goes against the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly oppose federal interference with state marijuana laws. These critical protections are supported by a majority of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle. There’s no question: If a vote were allowed, our amendment would pass on the House floor, as it has several times before.

    “Our fight to protect medical marijuana patients is far from over. The marijuana reform movement is large and growing. This bad decision by the House Rules Committee is an affront to the 46 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized use and distribution of some form of medical marijuana. These programs serve millions of Americans. This setback, however, is not the final word. As House and Senate leadership negotiate a long-term funding bill, we will fight to maintain current protections.”

    Since 2014, members of Congress have passed annual spending bills that have included the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer language, protecting those who engage in the state-sanctioned use and dispensing of medical cannabis from undue prosecution by the Department of Justice.

    Most recently, the amendment was reauthorized by Congress in May as part of a short term spending package, in spite of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions aggressively lobbying Congressional leadership to ignore the provisions. At the time of the signing of the bill, President Trump issued a signing statement objecting to the Rohrbacher-Blumenauer provision.

    Without these maintained protections, it is difficult to assess how much business confidence and investment will continue to pour into the nascent industry, which currently serves over 3 million

    However as the Congressmen indicated in their statement, the fight is not over. In July, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) successfully offered and passed the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment in the Senate Appropriations Committee, meaning that the language will be considered in a conference committee despite the fact that the House was denied the opportunity to express it’s support for the 30 states which have legalized medical marijuana and 16 states that have authorized CBD oil access.

    We will continue to advocate for the members who will be in the conference committee to maintain the language from the Senate version in order to continue to serve the millions of men, women, and children who depend on their medication. On Monday and Tuesday, September 11th and 12th, NORML will hold it’s annual Conference and Lobby Day in DC and will focus on the need to not allow our progress to be rolled back – if you can join us in DC, click here to register.

    Keep fighting with us – send a message to your federal elected officials now. 

    55 responses to “House Rules Committee Blocks Marijuana Amendments”

    1. Mark Mitcham says:

      Trump is rolling back every other civil right as he continues to solidify his fascist, illegal dictatorship. He’s not sparing us. Don’t kid yourself.

      Don’t be shocked when the DEA raids begin!

      Yeah, I sent the letter. You better do it too, if you give a damn! There might not be a “next election” that isn’t under the control of Trump and Putin’s joint “cybersecurity” election software division of Russia-America.

      You Republicans are to blame for this, you goddamn delusional idiots.

      • Duck says:

        Some of this is a bit overstated, I think, but that last sentence is !00% correct and well-said too.

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          @ Duck,
          Overstated… Perhaps. Those are Trump’s bright ideas, not mine. In any case, marijuana legalization does not occur in vacuum; there is a social context that sets the reference point for our varying degrees of progress on that issue.

          If America becomes a fascist authoritarian regime (and it is happening, the evidence is obvious) then the cause of marijuana legalization is eclipsed by the cause of Democracy, and Freedom itself.

      • shaggy dogg says:

        This is just the reason for them to come raid every person who is listed with the government as a caregiver by laws that they put in front of us To follow even if we followed they want to raid to get the money for their pockets doing this right win a good chunk of people invested money into Factory Productions of big company producing most people already paid for their license and probably will never see a dime of it back and invested a lot of time and material it just started a multimillion-dollar company of Their Own this really seems like they don’t want too many people to reach their level in financial department because they’re scared after a stoner or hippie reaches a certain level finances they might have to treat them equal this industry has saved more life than almost any other decisions for the people cannabis has cure cancer, seizures, and most anything a doctor would prescribe you I can find you a strange that would do the same effects for you without the nasty side effects Channel this is such a good medicine that some people take it just for the side effects besides all the fact that most of you already know what you don’t know this is the industry doesn’t hold your past against you if you’re good at your job and have a trustworthy reputation in other words never Stealing or tell people exactly where you work at for somebody like me it has been very beneficial for me to find work he says I’ll spend are you now becoming a good trimmer what the fuc

        • Julian says:

          Like, BREATH Shaggy! I agree with you but Its called a “period” and a “sentence.” If youre gonna click “Act” and write yer Congressman we need punctuation.

    2. Joefor20 says:

      Nooooooooooooooooooo. When will the peoples voices be heard. This is such a travesty and a reminder that public service is failing us in this country !!!

      • Charles Milman says:

        They forgot WE THE PEOPLE Have spoken if ti dose not infringe on your rights why is it against the law it is less harmful than than 5 o clock booze you drink assholes

        • Lenora McLamb says:

          Exactly if anything should be outlawed it should be alcohol. Never known anyone to harm another smoking pot. Alcohol, a person so drunk kills others on the road, murders someone because they are drunk and sad to say they can’t remember. Marijuana helps me with my pain, my appetite and just helps me feel better. I am a breast Cancer survivor and pray to see the day it is legalized. God grew it for a reason

      • I agree, when will our representatives start listening to us?

    3. Mary Suggs says:

      Shame on you redneck uneducated greedy Big Pharma lackeys!! Next year, I hope your constituents remember to vote you out of office.. Your negative vote in this case does NOT represent the wishes of your constituents…

    4. Todd says:

      “…silencing the ability for the lower chamber to offer protections from Attorney General Jeff Sessions when it comes to cannabis.” In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right …to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor (Amendment 6). Congress shall make no law …abridging … the right of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances (Amendment 1). I know that Jeff follows the Constitution to the letter, so show him what he needs to see instead of complaining that Marijuana is illegal and that he is a bad man since that hasn’t and won’t work to affect his behavior. The DACA is being called Unconstitutional by him, for example. A spineless animal is a hurt animal and is very dangerous.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        @ Todd,
        Oh, I see… an appeal to Jeff Sessions’ integrity. That’s the same Jeff Sessions who, upon becoming AG, immediately perjured himself in support of a traitor. The same man who was previously barred from serving as a judge because of his criminal activities suppressing minority voters and intimidating and threatening senior citizens.

        That son of a bitch? An appeal to his integrity?

        Good luck with that.

    5. Julian says:

      Done and sent.

      So lets recap… House Republicans… specifically Pete Sessions, refused to hold a vote on a widely popular Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment as well a variety of common sense hemp and marijuana amendments that would create clean jobs and provide clean food and building products while simultaneously paying down our debt and protecting states rights? So thanks to Sessions and the Koch brothers Republicans cant even be called conservative anymore?

      We need a massive campaign to add these amendments to the Debt Ceiling bill in December. All or nothing. Its the only way to force the House to a vote. We need celebrities to lobby their Congressman for this plan like Bill Maher. We need our lobby day to push a “Marijuana ceiling” agenda. Otherwise we are looking at a massive federal crackdown on dispensaries possibly as early as October, which will only strengthen our monentum.

      Weve hit the ceiling in our Marijuana Prohibition Tragedy. Its time to make a fool out of Sessions.

    6. Miles says:

      What is it with the Sessions family?

      Our country would be better off without them in it!

    7. PotinSC says:

      This is the reason I would NOT give money to Hurricane Harvey Relief. Stupid Texans voted in this Texas size ass.

    8. Dear Senators, I commend you in your relentless fight to uphold the will of millions of Americans as they access true medicine and practice medical freedom in healing their bodies. It is our constitutional right to pursue life. The 9th Amendment guarantees us the rights implied but not specifically written. Medical freedom is such a right. We have the rights to heal our bodies with nature in the privacy of our homes without government interference, with plants we choose. Cannabis is not lethal. Ever. Federalism gives the states the rights to do as they wish if they will each reschedule Cannabis in their own borders. The pacific corridor is all legal and the DEA is powerless at this point should all the governors of all the legal states simply unite and state Cannabis no longer meets criteria and we have stated it is medicine. Why should one Prohibitionist in one committee affect the fate of a nation?
      Thank you for your diligence and persistence.
      A nurse.
      A veteran.
      Shelly Servadio RN
      Chair Veterans Caucus IDP
      Co Director Founder Iowa Hemp
      President LimitlessRN LLC

      • Miles says:

        Hi Shelly, Thank you for your input. I agree 100% with your message. I only wish more of our so-called leaders had as much compassion and common sense as you do. This seems to be something the majority of the GOP is completely lacking in.

        People that think like Jeffrey Sessions, who seems to hate anyone and everyone who uses cannabis for any reason, are outrageously out of touch with the American people and science. They are completely disgraceful and their ideology goes against everything I tend to think of as an American value. I was dumbfounded as to why Trump would choose such a person to be his Attorney General but then I came to realize it is because he thought Sessions would help protect him from his Russian connections! I hope they both go down in flames (meaning prison time).

    9. lovingc says:

      This is the real republican view of the American people, they don’t matter! The party of evil and hate!