Historic House Appropriations Committee Vote On Marijuana

  • by NORML May 17, 2018

    Medical marijuanaToday, the House appropriations committee for the first time heard and passed language, known as the Joyce amendment, to restrict funding for the Department of Justice to prosecute state-legal medical marijuana programs.

    “Today marks a victory for medical marijuana programs and a loss for Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Passage of this amendment through regular order in the appropriations committee represents another big step in the normalization of state level marijuana reform in the Congress of the United States,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal

    Previously, the amendment had not gone through the committee process and was inserted into the appropriations bill on the floor of the House, yet was blocked in 2017 by Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, a militant marijuana prohibitionist. The amendment was offered by Representative David Joyce (R-OH).

    “States have clearly taken a lead on the access to medical marijuana for those suffering from severe pain looking for options other than opioids. I think it’s time we cut through the federal red tape for those 46 states, like Ohio, who have on some level legalized the medical use of cannabis. This gives the states more freedom to provide for their suffering citizens,” said Mr. Joyce upon the passage of his amendment.

    “We thank Representative Joyce for his leadership to protect the 46 states that have reformed their marijuana policies and the over 2 million patients that they serve,” said Strekal.

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

    Last year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to Congressional leadership to remove these restrictions, writing: “I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of a historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”

    According to recently released nationwide survey data, the majority of Americans are on our side. A whopping 94 percent support the medical use of marijuana. Perhaps most importantly, 70 percent of voters — including strong majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — say that they “oppose the government enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana.”

    To send a message to your Representative in support of maintaining these protections, click here.

    22 responses to “Historic House Appropriations Committee Vote On Marijuana”

    1. p.i. oslon says:


    2. Matt says:

      AWESOME NEWS! For patients and all!

      • Dain Bramage says:

        This is awesome news for some lucky medical marijuana patients, in some lucky states. But it leaves behind more medical marijuana patients than it protects.

        If are a medical marijuana patient in a red state with no voter initiatives, and a hostile Republican state legislature, this “good news” is bitter-sweet.

        It is clear the Republicans are willing to give no more than they have to when it comes to marijuana legalization. They want to use “states rights” principles to DENY rights to medical marijuana patients in SOME states, while conceding others.

        The Democrats are ready to legalize it nationwide. We don’t need the Republicans and their crimes of extortion. They don’t love America.

    3. ancient james says:

      We have a strong and effective Federal Government that does best in sticking to the functions assigned to it by our Constitution. To prohibit Cannabis under the clause of regulating interstate commerce is, of course, a twisted stretch of reasoning. Lawyers know that the Federal Government really ought to retire from interference with Cannabis that stays within any of the various States; this in order to comply with the intent of The Constitution of The United States of America.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Ancient James,
        Yeah, maybe. But the Republicans wouldn’t know anything about that. They have no principle at all, other than hypocrisy and crime. Let’s vote Democratic and get our goddamn country back!

    4. Dain Bramage says:

      And yet, Representative David Joyce (R-OH), opposes Obamacare, just like Rep Gardner. So, it’s not compassion for the ailing that motivates him.

      A Republican protects us from the other Republicans. How grateful should I be? Like a protection racket, “That’s a nice medical marijuana program you have there. It would be a shame if Trump and Sessions did anything to it.”

      That’s why I say to Republicans, so long as you continue to enable Trump, well, thanks for nothing.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Let’s aim higher than protecting a few lucky medical marijuana patients in a few lucky medical marijuana states. Let’s just legalize it, nationwide!

        The Republicans have had their chance to do that now, but they are going in the opposite direction. So, fuck ’em. Vote Democratic!

    5. Matt says:

      just heard Pete Session’s panel blocked three hemp bills recently, and he touts healthcare gains for Vets. DINOSAUR….they need to kick this THROWBACK and his panel of hicks OUT. Backwards idiot Prohibitions in office, stuck in the last century….

    6. Matt says:

      *Prohibitionists, and sorry for being unprofessional in my derogatory post and hicks labeling….just ticked off with status quo politics

    7. Julian says:

      Thank my sweet Lemon-Haze-Berry-White-Purple-Kush-Trainwreck!!!


      Oh, and what an historic moment in marijuana reform history. Eat your heart out Jeff Sessions. Unlike the Republican blocked House Rules Committee, the Appropriations Committee is representing the interests and security of the American people.

      (And have mercy, Joyce is SO much easier to spell! THANK YOU Representative Joyce! THANK YOU!)

      I’m calling it the smoke and Re-Joyce amendment.

    8. Evening Bud says:

      Aww, the Keebler Elf goes down in flames again. Wonder how his boss feels?

    9. Julian says:

      What’s especially encouraging about this news is that the members of the House Appropriations Committee are most likely to become the members of the Bicameral Conference Committee for the Farm Bill which, if the Senate can bypass Chuck Grassley in the Judicial Committee, means that the Senate Hemp Bill miiiight just make it through the Farm Bill after all. 14 Dems have signed on and growing. I don’t know why the Hemp Bill doesn’t already have every Democratic Senator Cosigned already. It already has 4 Republicans plus the Senate Majority Turtle. What’s the hold up?

      C’mon Democratic Senators! Kamala Harris? Blumenthal? Booker? Sanders? Why haven’t ya’ll signed the Hemp Bill already?!

      What about you Feinstein? You said you’ve turned green, well SHOW it!

    10. Anon says:

      Sad that this is the best they can do, should we even really be worried about Sessions trying anything at this point? Even against recreational, I mean that would make more sense to make protections for. Hopefully as more candidates make legalization part of their platform we will see comprehensive federal legalization become more of a possibility soon.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        “Sad that this is the best that they can do.” Bingo. That is what is significant here. They could do a lot more… they just don’t want to.

        It’s more than “sad”; it is adversarial. The Republicans are not working for us, they are working against us. That’s why I won’t cheer them. No credit for the abuser who feigns mercy, temporarily, for the purpose of acquiring surrender and compliance from their victim.

        Can’t wait for the Blue Wave and some fucking payback!

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