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. Politically Speaking! says:

      The GOP majority is not a supermajority in the Senate. There’s a chance for the Demos to put a political football in play. Trump already shows the ability to make deals with the Demos so there’s another way to play. Enough GOP Reps can combine with Demo Reps to bring matters to a positive conclusion as well.

      Politics is the art of the possible. Plenty of possibilities are out there for the astute players of this game.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Please. Trump can’t cut a deal because he has no integrity, and it’s all a con to him, always. So anyone who tries to cut a deal with Trump is already a sucker walking in, before they even have a discussion.

        Trump must be defeated, contained, neutralized, and removed. Never listen to Trump, unless you’re determined to be a sucker. Just defend against Trump, with vigilance! Resist!

    2. Julian says:

      And as if to prove my research on Koch Industries and their contempt for legalized self-fertilizing hemp competing with their toxic synthetic fertlizers and timber patents, the Kochs are aligned with big pharma behind Pete Sessions;


      God I hope the Supreme Court allows the decision on discriminatory redistricting to stand and get remapped by Federal judges before elections next year. Meanwhile we need to get the Dems on board with leveraging the R&B amendment over the debt ceiling. Lookin at a pic of Pete Sessions feels like staring down a two-headed rattle snake.

      Its never been more important to take action, write, call and visit with our Congressman;


    3. I am a medical cannibias patient. Please stop this senseless prohibition. Why must I be made to feel like a criminal? It’s wrong and you all know it.

      • Evening Bud says:


        You’re obviously not libertarian. If you were, you’d have instead said, “I’m a medical cannabis patient. I got mine–fuck everybody else!”

        • Miles says:

          I think your reply to Cheryl was very rude!

          Are you out of cannabis or did something else put you in a bad mood when you made that comment?

          • Julian says:

            Miles, read it more carefully: Evening Bud is being sarcastic.

          • Evening Bud says:

            Geez Miles,

            Talk about twisting the truth. Reread my post, Miles. There is no insult to Cheryl; perhaps you should put away your synthetic grass and try the real stuff. Then focus.

            And no, the only thing that puts me in a bad mood is your truth-twisting comment.

      • Miles says:

        You’re right Cheryl! This entire war against cannabis users is completely ridiculous and, yes, they do know it but apparently, for now, it serves their evil greedy purposes.

    4. Jason Gould says:

      This is exactly why these people need term limits and should beable to be impeached by the state they represent qhen not voting how their constituents want. And Texas could use some marijuana tax dollars to help clean up their state. But those good old boys who did this stupid block on America’s health and sovereignty arw the same fat cats who are afraid of marijuana especially the big oil and big hemp. And the fed better read up on sate sovereignty and exactly what it means. A vote by the people of a state on a law then makes that law over ride the federal government’s stance. Protections of power. Checks and balances right?

    5. Buck Reed says:

      The politicians do not represent the will of the people, it’s all about lobbyist and money. Our Representatives need to represent the will of the people or get someone in their that does.

    6. Darrell fleming says:

      I’m sorry but they’re not looking out for our best interest for our veterans or the people that need the medicine they need to be all voted out good amount of Congress and get somebody in for the people not for the lobbyist

    7. Dave says:

      I bet the Cartels are jumping with joy. They get their market back. And the repubs are likely glad more Mexican people will die in the violence. Less people to graffiti our pretty new wall.
      This country is a dumpster fire.

      • Julian says:

        The executive branch is the dumpster fire. The DOJ is the drug cartel. The ATF is the arms cartel. We can only hope to leverage the debt ceiling now to force the R&B amendment. The Judicial branch is really the only hope beyond that.

    8. Evening Bud says:

      Republicans strike again!

      My wife has a cousin who I believe is libertarian, she and her husband. They’ve never come out and said it, but her comments to my wife lead to me suspect that strongly.

      When I spoke to him about 6 months ago on the subject of legalization, and mentioned that it was largely because of a GOP governor, Susanna Martinez, that New Mexico hasn’t yet legalized recreationally, he just shrugged. I reminded him that Martinez had said legalization would never happen on her watch, and he simply said, “I heard her say that. I think legalization is inevitable.”

      So, with him apparently, no advocacy needed, no pressure on politicos–it’s inevitable.

      I talked with his wife (my wife’s cousin) on the phone just this week, and when I mentioned Jeff Sessions’ actions and comments this year, she blew them off, too. “I think the whole country’s gonna be legalized in two years,” she said.

      As with her husband, she seemed to simply blow off all the realities of Sessions and the blood-red states in this country. Obviously, it’s easier for her and her husband to remain intellectually ignorant as to the current situation, easier to remain intellectually cynical.

      I think time is on our side, too, but it’s still a long, hard fight IMO. But I just had to give an example of the modern libertarian attitude toward legalization–at least theirs.

      • Julian says:

        If Libertarians really cared about the right to put “what we want in our bodies” they wouldnt support Koch-backed Prohibitionist Congressman that want to sell synthetic, poisonous petrol-based fertilizer without any pesky regulations from the EPA. Because private industry will do whats benevolently best for us if government lets them, right? Riiiiiight…

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        I say, so-called “economic freedom” is a scam.

        There is no such legitimate thing. People can have freedom; but that freedom does not include the right to enslave others.

        Just as “physics and gravity” do not justify dropping a rock on someone, similarly, no economic principle can justify the exploitation which corporate America uses to enslave people for profit.

    9. Denny Strausser Jr says:

      I don’t know the best way to put this but, it is time they actually listen to us, instead of the lies and myths of this stupid (Drug War).. All their best attempts have failed. They have done nothing to stop the supply, nor has these laws ever done any good. People are in prison for simple drug possession, and many are very good people. At least they were when they went in. Some come out true criminals on the other side.

      Jail should only be for those who have committed a crime with true victims.

    10. Julian says:

      MPP is putting stock in creating a House/Senate Conference Committee over the Rohrabacher Blumenhauer Amendment. Who has the authority in the House besides Pete Sessions to pick members? Is that Paul Ryan?

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