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Senate Scorecard

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Senate Bills

Daines/Merkley Veterans Equal Access Amendment

Permits physicians affiliated with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend cannabis therapy to veterans in states that allow for its therapeutic use. More info

Mikulski Amendment Protecting State Medical Marijuana Laws

Limits 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. More info

Merkley Marijuana Banking Amendment

Prohibits the US Treasury Department from using federal funds to take punitive actions against banks that provide financial services to marijuana-related businesses that are operating legally under state laws. More info

'N/A' means that the Senator did not have the opportunity to vote on this amendment.

Senators

  • Jeff Sessions (R)

    ALABAMA

    NORML Grade: F

    Votes

    ?

    Comments

    “You have to have leadership from Washington. You can't have the President of the United States of America talking about marijuana … you are sending a message to young people that there is no danger in this process. It is false that marijuana use doesn't lead people to more drug use. It is already causing a disturbance in the States that have made it legal.” 3/7/2016 During a discussion of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015

  • Richard Shelby (R)

    ALABAMA

    NORML Grade: F

    Votes

    ?

    Comments

    (Link)
    6/2/2014 “Sen. Shelby opposes legalizing marijuana, and would therefore oppose such a provision. However, he has not been approached about including anything related in the Senate’s version,” said Jonathan Graffeo, spokesman for Mr. Shelby. (Related to Rohrabacher 2014 amendment)

  • Lisa Murkowski (R)

    ALASKA

    NORML Grade: B

    Votes

    ?

    Comments

    10/21/2015: (Link)

  • Dan Sullivan (R)

    ALASKA

    NORML Grade: C

    Votes

    ?

    Comments

    "There is growing scientific evidence documenting the health risks associated with marijuana use including adverse effects on the lungs, the cardiovascular system, and possibly the immune and reproductive systems. However, I also understand the great importance of preserving the rights bestowed to the States." 7/10/2011 (Link)
    U.S. Sen. Sullivan: “My staff and I have had a couple of meetings with Governor Walker’s administration officials to try to work through the complexities of a state system where marijuana has been legalized by the vote of the people, so even though I didn’t vote for that, I recognize that it’s a vote of the Alaskan people so I very much respect that. And then the federal system that hasn’t gotten there, whether it’s banking, whether it’s criminal laws and how you mesh the two. It’s not 100% clear where we would have to change federal laws to enable states that have chosen to do what Alaska did, like Oregon, like Colorado, to move forward. So we are working with the federal agencies, we are working with the state of Alaska, we’re working with some of the other states, I’m working with some of the other senators on first understanding what the exact issues are and how to address them. It is complex, like I said.” 12/28/2015 (Link)

  • Jeff Flake (R)

    ARIZONA

    NORML Grade: C

    Votes

    ?

    Comments

    Flake adopted the Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement: BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Liberty Caucus endorses the following [among its] principles: While recognizing the harm that drug abuse causes society, we also recognize that government drug policy has been ineffective and has led to frightening abuses of the Bill of Rights which could affect the personal freedom of any American. We, therefore, support alternatives to the War on Drugs. Per the tenth amendment to the US Constitution, matters such as drugs should be handled at the state or personal level. All laws which give license to violate the Bill of Rights should be repealed.

  • John McCain (R)

    ARIZONA

    NORML Grade: C

    Votes

    ?

    Comments

    Q: How do you reconcile the tolerance for alcohol with the intolerance for marijuana? A: I can’t support the legalization of marijuana. Scientific evidence indicates that the moment that it enters your body, one, it does damage, and second, it can become addictive. It is a gateway drug. There is a problem in American with alcohol abuse, and there’s no doubt about that. We have to do whatever we can to - prevention, education, and that applies to drugs too. Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 29, 1999 9/6/2013: “Maybe we should legalize. We’re certainly moving that way as far as marijuana is concerned. I respect the will of the people.” 2007: (Link)

  • John Boozman (R)

    ARKANSAS

    NORML Grade: F

    Votes

    ?

    Comments

    Boozman said there "are some legitimate cases where marijuana would be helpful," but said in other states the medical marijuana laws have resulted in a "free-for-all" in which doctors prescribe marijuana for any ailment. "The mail I get is very much opposed at doing this (medical marijuana) at the federal level," Boozman said.

  • Tom Cotton (R)

    ARKANSAS

    NORML Grade: F

    Votes

    ?

    No sponsorships or comments

  • Barbara Boxer (D)

    CALIFORNIA

    NORML Grade: B

    Votes

    ?

    Cosponsor

    S. 683: CARERS

    Comments

    “Senator Boxer is a strong supporter of California’s medical marijuana law and she believes that patients, doctors and caregivers in states like California should be able to follow state law without fear of federal prosecution,” Senator Boxer does not support this initiative because she shares the concerns of police chiefs, sheriffs and other law enforcement officials that this measure could lead to an increase in crime, vehicle accidents and higher costs for local law enforcement agencies," Kapolczynski said. "She supports current law in California, which allows for the use of medicinal marijuana with a doctor's prescription."

  • Dianne Feinstein (D)

    CALIFORNIA

    NORML Grade: C-

    Votes

    ?

    Comments

    "There may very well be a place for medical marijuana,” California’s senior senator said in a statement before the vote. But “to take a federal position on this before the research is done ... is putting the cart before the horse.” allowing states to enforce their own laws without federal interference would probably discourage research, “because you won’t be able to go against a state that has implemented (its marijuana laws) and has its own rules.” And federal intervention is appropriate, Feinstein said, unless a state has “a strong regulatory system in place.” Feinstein was a vocal opponent of the 2010 initiative, which she called “a jumbled legal nightmare that will make our highways, our workplaces and our communities less safe.” She also opposed the 1996 ballot measure that legalized medical marijuana. She told an interviewer last year that as a member of the state parole board for women in the 1960s, she saw many convicts who “began with marijuana and went on to hard drugs.” Similarly, at Thursday’s hearing, Feinstein described marijuana as a “gateway drug” with a “growing addiction factor,” a view the drug’s advocates say is unsupported by research.

  • Michael Bennet (D)

    COLORADO

    NORML Grade: B+

    Votes

    ?

    Cosponsor

    SB 683: CARERS
    *S. 1333: Therapeutic Hemp Medical Access Act of 2015
    S. 134: Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015
  • Cory Gardner (R)

    COLORADO

    NORML Grade: B+

    Votes

    ?

    Cosponsor

    S. 134: Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015
    *S. 1726: Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015

    Comments

    “The new DOJ policies seem to imply that federal authorities will not preempt state laws. Does this set precedent of other areas? For example, several states have passed laws to opt out of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, yet the federal government has consistently said it will take over health insurance industries regardless of states that contest the law. If you do not agree that there is a precedent set, would you explain the inconsistencies of why in certain areas federal law may be deemed irrelevant, but not in others?”

  • Chris Murphy (D)

    CONNECTICUT

    NORML Grade: B

    Votes

    ?

    Cosponsor

    S. 683 CARERS Act of 2015
    S. 134 Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015
  • Richard Blumenthal (D)

    CONNECTICUT

    NORML Grade: C

    Votes

    ?

    Comments

    At a Senate hearing in Spetember 2013, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut asked Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole to clarify to U.S. Attorneys how they should treat money from marijuana businesses in states where it is now legal.

  • Chris Coons (D)

    DELAWARE

    NORML Grade: B

    Votes

    ?

    Cosponsor

    *S. 3077: Marijuana Effective Drug Studies Act of 2016

    Comments

    October 2014: "U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat seeking his first full six-year term, said he supports the legalization of medical marijuana but not its recreational use."

  • Tom Carper (D)

    DELAWARE

    NORML Grade: F

    Votes

    ?

    No sponsorships or comments

  • Bill Nelson (D)

    FLORIDA

    NORML Grade: B

    Votes

    ?

    Comments

    Sen. Nelson was quoted by the Tampa Bay Times as saying, “Marijuana used as a medical relief for people that are desperate, I agree that ought to be legal,” and that cannabis legislation is, “best left to the states,” rather than the federal government. Nelson also recently told the Tampa Bay Times, “Just listen to the personal testimonies of people that nothing will help them as they are dying and marijuana gives them comfort and relieves the pain.” “I oppose legalizing marijuana. At this time, no legislation is pending in the Senate to decriminalize the possession or use of marijuana.” Sen. Nelson did vote for the 2014 Farm Bill, which included language that allows research plots of industrial hemp to be cultivated in states that permit it, because of an amendment introduced by Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY 4), which passed in the House of Representatives version of the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill, with the House’s hemp amendment, did pass the Senate and was signed into law by President Obama.

  • Marco Rubio (R)

    FLORIDA

    NORML Grade: F

    Votes

    ?

    Comments

    "Yes. Yes, I think, well, I think we need to enforce our federal laws. Now do states have a right to do what they want? They don't agree with it, but they have their rights. But they don't have a right to write federal policy as well....I don't believe we should be in the business of legalizing additional intoxicants in this country for the primary reason that when you legalize something, what you're sending a message to young people is it can't be that bad, because if it was that bad, it wouldn't be legal." July, 2014: "If there are medicinal uses of marijuana that don't have the elements that are mind-altering or create the high but do alleviate whatever condition it may be they are trying to alleviate, that is something I would be open to," he said. “You hear compelling stories of people who say the use of medicinal marijuana provides relief for the thing they are suffering. So I'd like to learn more about that aspect of it, the science of it. I have qualms about that proposal, I really do, but I probably need to learn more about it. The broader issue of whether we should be legalizing it is something I'm pretty firm about. I don’t think legalizing marijuana or even decriminalizing it is the right decision for our country."

  • David Perdue (R)

    GEORGIA

    NORML Grade: B-

    Votes

    ?

    Comments

    Feb 16, 2014: "I’m not a doctor, but the only use of marijuana that I would support today would be the medical use of it,” he said. “The two doctors in this race have both said that that would be acceptable to them. I’ve talked to other physicians that think it’s a valuable tool to use. I’m basing this on medical thought that that is a tool to use against some treatments for cancer and so forth, and if that can be used medicinally, I would be OK with that.” "But as a senator, I’m telling you that I’m going to support the law of the land in the state of Georgia, that’s first of all, second of all, that the medicinal use of it is something that I would be receptive to,” he said.

  • Johnny Isakson (R)

    GEORGIA

    NORML Grade: C

    Votes

    ?

    Cosponsor

    *S.1333: Therapeutic Hemp Medical Access Act of 2015

    Comments

    May, 2015: “This legislation will ensure that families of children suffering from seizures have access to treatments that can provide them with a better quality of life. The legislation also removes federal barriers for Georgia families who want to bring the cannabis oil back to Georgia in order to administer medical treatment in the comfort of their own home. I’ve always been a supporter of research and innovation as a leading driver in finding new and improved treatment options for those affected by diseases and disorders.”

This information is continually being updated. If you have an additional public comment that we do not have record of or any additional information please email politics@norml.org.