Senate Appropriations Committee Votes To Protect State Medical Marijuana Laws

Members of the United States Senate Appropriations Committee voted by a margin of 2 to 1 today in favor of language limiting 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. The provision was offered as an amendment by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill.

The Senate amendment mirrors language approved by the House last week in their version of the CJS bill.

Passage of the provision reauthorizes protections signed into law last year, but which are set to expire this September.

A vote by the full Senate and reconciliation with the House is necessary before the 2016 spending bill is transmitted to the President.

25 thoughts

  1. Here is a listing on Senate votes from the DPA website:

    “We’re witnessing the death throes of the federal government’s war on medical marijuana.”– Michael Collins, DPA

    Here is the vote:

    Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) : YES
    Christopher Coons (D-DE): YES
    Dick Durbin (D-IL): YES
    Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): NO
    Patrick Leahy (D-VT): YES
    Jeff Merkley (D-OR): YES
    Barbara Mikulski (D-MD): YES
    Chris Murphy (D-CT): YES
    Patty Murray (D-WA): YES
    Jack Reed (D-RI): YES
    Brian Schatz (D-HI): YES
    Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH): YES
    Jon Tester (D-MT): YES
    Tom Udall (D-NM): YES
    Lamar Alexander (R-TN): YES
    Roy Blunt (R-MO): YES
    John Boozman (R-AR): NO
    Shelley Capito (R-WV): YES
    Bill Cassidy (R-LA): YES
    Thad Cochran (R-MS): NO
    Susan Collins (R-ME): YES
    Steve Daines (R-MT): YES
    Lindsey Graham (R-SC): NO
    John Hoeven (R-ND): NO
    Mark Kirk (R-IL): NO
    James Lankford (R-OK): NO
    Mitch McConnell (R-KY): NO
    Jerry Moran (R-KS): YES
    Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): YES
    Richard Shelby (R-AL): NO

    Pretty much every Democrat is on board except Feinstein. No surprise there. She did surprise us by voting yes on the VA marijuana amendment to keep the DOJ from interfering with VA recommendations for marijuana. 🙂 But then she flopped and voted no for no interference to medical marijuana :-(. So… relief to our veterans! Meanwhile let their families with neurodegenerative diseases and babies with epilepsy suffer a slow and painful death, right Feinstein? (Someone needs to rake that b!+$# over the coals…)

    The Republican count is 8 YES to 8 NO. Wow! A breakthrough in the Republican Senate! The score, at least in this committee, is now half and half up from the usual Republican prohibitionist majority. And speaking of “majority”, looks like ol Majority leader Mitch McConnell wants his hemp-cake and eat it too… He wants to vote yes on any industrial hemp amendment and vote no for the sick and our veterans. Hmm… wonder how long the wolf in hemp’s clothing will last? Someone should go up to him and be like “So now you’re going to provide some of your hemp research stock to this toddler suffering from severe seizures… Right Mr. McConnell?”
    McConnell: “Wwwwell Aaaaah, See Ahhhhm not so suuure… ssloooow an steady wins the race… Ayup!”
    Dirtbag. SOME one he knows needs treatment from marijuana, he’s just too in love with being Majority Leader to admit it and do his JOB. What a douche.

    Hey, but off that note, we’re winning votes every day now!

  2. I would like to know wha. all pharmaceutical companies think about this bill. Do thay support it?

  3. Thank you!

    Sooner the better.

    Just watched the CBS21 central Pennsylvania town hall medical marijuana forum with Montel Williams. Unbelievably heart-wrenching, and of course the jerk holding up the whole bill in the House, Rep. Matt Baker declined the invitation to attend. Out of sight out of mind, now he can continue to ignore everyone and keep it from getting out of committee.

    There was a plan for someone else on the committee he is in charge of to make a motion to move the Pennsylvania medical marijuana bill to a different House committee, which would have to be seconded by someone else on his committee.

    I certainly hope that the entire town hall meeting will be shown to House members as evidence of overwhelming public supports for MMJ in PA.

    I couldn’t make the town hall meeting because I got back too late from a medical appointment for the cancer I am battling, so I am so glad there was such a great turnout of patients like myself who got to tell their stories and the stories of their loved ones who could benefit from MMJ. Of course the prohibitionists are still stalling calling for more research. We all tired of waitin!

  4. If the Senate rescheduled cannabis, they would be making the legislation the voters are requesting.

  5. OK. what exactly does this acomplish? I’ll concede that these are a few base hits. However Obama could still order his AG (Lynch) to begin the (Title 21 {Sub-chapter I}) process to deschedule cannabis from the CSA listings. Obama knows this (via Choen). I can’t help but to feel placated by all of this “beating-around the bush” budgetary manuvers around Grassley’s Judiciary committee. Am I wrong here????????

  6. I hope that Pennsylvania legalizes, and that the feds do something to make cannabis banking legal and to get the IRS off our backs.

    The bill needs amending to expand what is allowed. The report states that in its current form “only a handful of diseases are approved and only oils and ointments derived from marijuana will be allowed.” Smoking is still prohibited.

    There was a medical marijuana political forum Thursday evening, June 11, and Montel Williams was one of the panel members.

    Thank you very much, Montel!

    I was glad he mentioned the pro-cannabis advocacy he is doing in other states.

    Thanks to Cannabis Culture for publishing an article about it.

    You can watch this medical marijuana town hall meeting and read more information about it at the links.

    Main page, has links to town hall forum which is split into 3 video links, each about 30 minutes long. Starts off with an advertisement for Rock Bass Grill, and there are also videos about the gathering on the steps of the capital where the public gave speeches along with politicians who gave speeches, basically everyday folks having their say and they politicians who are implementing what the public says it wants.

    First segment gives background information.

    First 30 minutes:

    Seconde 30 minutes:

    Meanwhile the witch hunt on the cannabis community is still on. Cannabis prohibition is alive and well in Pennsylvania.

    Here’s an article from LancasterOnline, a regional newspaper’s online edition.

    Police: Large indoor marijuana-growing operation in Manheim Twp stopped

    It turns out that 3 people lived in 2 different houses were apparently growing 18 plants in the one house and garage. Says the entire lower level was converted to a grow room. That must mean the basement, one big room lower level.

    So what if they had 20 ballasts set up. That’s only 6 plants apiece. There could have been other people who were going to join the cannabis collective. I mean, the state is holding up this shit and people are tired of waiting and are just saving themselves and people they are caregivers for.

    Ultraviolet lighting? They called the electricity provider PPL, the electric company in other words, to send over people to unplug the ballasts because they thought they were dangerous. Keystone Kopz need some cannabis education or else the reporter who wrote the story. These are the strangest paragraphs in the article:

    “The 18 plants were growing in the garage, which had been outfitted with ultraviolet lighting connected to timers, carbon dioxide generators and a sophisticated irrigation system, police said.

    “The lights were serviced by 20 electrical ballasts that had to be disconnected by PPL officials for the safety of the officers prior to a detailed search,” the police news release said.”

    There’s scaremongering in there. Ultraviolet light overexposure and skin cancer. Is that what they’re implying? That’s backfill because right next is mention of safety.

    This is weird too:
    “Detectives “believe that the plants were being cared for in a manner in which each plant could be harvested multiple times,” the statement said.”

    If the detectives have figured out that the 3 were regenerating females for multiple harvests, how could they not know the proper references for the lighting ballasts, and why would they be afraid to unplug the ballasts themselves? Kopz needed electricians to disconnect all the extra outlets they had run for the ballasts. Well, was it overloading or what? Doesn’t say. In Colorado, all that shit has to be inspected so that it’s not a potential danger.

    All these arrests are just a damn shame.

    Call off the witch hunt. Legalize.

  7. I’ve been smoking since before many of these lawmakers have been born! With all the evidence out there about marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties, I think any use is “medical.” Isn’t prevention better than cure?

  8. I want to become a provider in MT. When I was 18 I plead guilty to a misdemeanor paraphernalia offence and got a deferred sentence. I fulfilled all my requirements to the court. Because my sentence was deferred and apparently taken off my record can I still become a provider?

  9. Julian provided the details of who voted and how – I couldn’t find this most critical coverage anywhere else… Thanks!

  10. @Raven;
    I agree with you to a point; all that the establishment for prohibition has left (which unfortunately includes the President) is stall tactics, watered down, CBD only, keep-marijuana- illegal-for-as-long-as-we-can agendas. Ironically, an executive order to deschedule from the President or AG could be viewed as another stall tactic, as itvwould inevitably end up in court.

    In the light of so many epileptic children, patients suffering from everything from MS to cancer and 17 U.S. Veterans committing suicide per day, the double standard of admitting marijuana is medicine, however delayed or defined, and yet maintaining schedule 1status or even the entire C.S.Act intact is absolutely appalling.

    But there is method to this diluted madness; These votes are showing the American public who is voting yes and who is voting no on very basic Congressional, toe- in-the-water pro-legalization marijuana reform, prior to next year’s elections. This is crucial voting knowledge as Congress and State Legislators ultimately have to do their job to reform America’s evil marijuana policy.

    An executive order right now from the President, as awful and unimaginably evil as it sounds, would be met with a lengthy Federal court battle that would see Obama out of office, in a similar manner that his executive decision on immigration is challenged. Some people like Senator Lindsay Graham possess no moral compass on social issues whether it’s immigration or legalizing and regulating the greatest medicine on earth.

    Despite the fact that the majority of states have some form of medical marijuana law implemented, Prohibitionists will use a lengthy court battle to stall legislation like the CARERS Act that outright deschedules marijuana from schedule 1 on a more permanent basis… As many times as I have blogged here about Obama “tearing down the wall,” the truth is another President could just reverse any executive order Obama makes. With so many lives at stake and increasing evidence of marijuana’s ability to prevent suffering or even death, we just can’t afford the delay: We have to pick up the phone, visit our state capitols and keep the pressure on our Congressman. When a voting citizen like Oracle who is suffering from cancer visits the City Council or a legislator, the message is powerful and effective in the conscience of every staff worker and member of any council or committee; Legalize Marijuana Now.

    Which brings me to Hillary; Her husband’s participation in creating the “parallel evidence” incarcerate-without-due-process S.O.D. Program out of the D.E.A. aside… Her main focus has always been providing more access and health care to the middle class. But while Obamacare may provide access, it has failed to lower the ever increasing cost of health care, something which marijuana can accomplish directly with a doctors legal recommendation. As I’ve stated here before, it is cheaper than my insurance deductibles to fly my entire family to Mexico for adequate and affordable health care.

    For these reasons we need to pressure Hillary with the evidence of legalized marijuana’s health care-cost-lowering capability and confront her directly on how she plans to work with a Republican legislature that is still strung like marionettes by the insurance and pharmaceutical companies that continue to fix the cost of medicine and health care at an exorbitant cost to the poor and middle income communities across the globe. This campaign debate HAS to happen soon if we are ever going to reveal who is running on a Big Insurance/ Big Pharma platform and who wants to roll up their sleeves and get marijuana legalized legislatively once and for all.

  11. Any prevention is better than the “treatment” they make money dishing out. The cure they fear might be cannabis curing $igarette addiction and other things that make Big Money for hospitals and drug companies.

  12. One thing is still blocking progress in advancing the cause for legalizing medical and recreational Marijuana. The stereotypes are still with us. The Cheech and Chong image still hasn’t changed much. Let’s face it, in the eyes of the majority we are still potheads, stoners, dopers, freaks and losers, names we even sometimes laughingly refer to ourselves, even though reality says otherwise.
    If we ever hope to make real advances in terms of the law or acceptance, we should create more “user friendly” names, maybe something like Herbists, Naturalites or Cannabists, anything but the low life names we have for ourselves now.

  13. Feinstein, I’m amazed that incumbent hasn’t been voted out yet.

    Term limits in Congress is something our country needs. If the most powerful man (person) in the Western world is limited to two terms then so should the little ones in Congress, it makes no sense, a contradiction, for it to be otherwise.

    I agree with TheOldHippy, the language used by the media and their thought-stopping cliches involving cannabis has been an true form of mind control that stifles critical thinking in a powerful way. The change in use of our verbiage would be a good start, “pot,” “stoned,” “weed,” should be removed from our own lexicons lest we promote these stereotypes inadvertently.

    Cannabis, medicine, first plant cultivated.

    It’s just shocking that half a million people world wide die annually from the use of anti-depressants and yet they are not shunned from usage by mainstream media.

    The war on some drugs, or the drug war, directly causes social problems, directly motivates organized crime, leads to human rights violations, stifles a productive society by disproportionately imprisoning vast numbers of otherwise productive members of society. All the while the deficit spending (debt creation) spent, is wasted on a failed and ineffective mockery of the law. The New Jim Crow–it has to end.

    All the No voters listed need to be removed as career politicians. * Term limits * that apply to all parts of federal government are far more important than the distraction issue of campaign finance.

    This should probably include Supreme Court Justices

    And even though the Federal Reserve is not a truly Federal or governmental institution, but a private finance corporation, those people should be included too. It is virtually impossible for the most powerful person in the Western world, as they often say, to drastically change the Fed in only two terms. This is absurdity when the Fed is a banking company listed in the business of the White Pages.

    Term limits are necessary, and without them, the system of Checks and Balances that is supposed to be in effect, is a travesty, an illusion.

  14. I think many people are considering Hillary prematurely to be the Democratic candidate, which is a foregone conclusion.

    There are still primaries that have to be won

    Bernie Sanders 2016 !

  15. We have to wake up to the vocabulary we use in everyday life that we have come to not question.

    Drug “treatment” is a farce based on the disease model of addiction.

    The treatment for long hair is a hair cut. The treatment for drug abuse is also a voluntary decision. There is no evidence that addiction is a “disease” with some clinically proven treatment. It’s an illusion that makes industries huge sums of money. There may be predispositions genetically that render some people more susceptible to drug abuse, but arguably the never-ending cycle of poverty is the biggest factor involved.

    Interventions and “treatment” and drug testing is all a ruse when only the individual has the final word, a decision to quit for good and sticking with it, if that is their choice.

    Nevertheless there is so much pharma out there that is claimed to not cause withdrawal or to be extremely addictive, and this is rarely questioned.

    It’s time to realize that legally allowed drugs or treatments, themselves may need “treatment” to get off of them, if that were something possible. Personal decisions to quit, that’s all there is regarding cessation, personal decisions, which are as effective or more so than dubiously claimed “treatments” at exorbitant cost which arguably change nothing, especially when forced on people through the criminal, legal system yet it is a health issue, not a criminal issue.

    This is one of the biggest piles of BS nonsense that persists, the idea of treatment or “getting help” in its myriad and inconsistent forms is a scam on a massive, monolithic scale. Part of the madness within an empire grounded on indulgence and corruption, disregarding the true interests of the citizenry.

  16. Julian :
    I’ll agree with you here. However those T.21 SB 1 suits can come from both sides. For instance, Colorado could conter-sue the DOJ fo failing to reschedule under its charged responsibility to maintain drug schedules. This includes deletions.

    As far as what is happening in congress, I whish that Grassley cold be removed as that committee’s chair. That is, find a way to relegate these obstinate dinosaurs null and void.

  17. @Raven
    So “bring it on” says the Raven? I suppose a “lengthy” court battle could be measured both in 4-year Congressional election terms just as well as we can measure the end of prohibition in terms of +75 years of bad drug policy. And there certainly are growing opportunities for a countersuit for Colorado if the Nebraska AG hasn’t backed down by now…

    Your name reminds me of the old fable of the crow that threw pebbles into a jar until its beak could reach the little water at the bottom. I suppose if we reach the water before we die of thirst then allow me to help!

    Hey Paul; what’s the status of the NorthEastern California case? Still in appeals process I assume?

  18. Dianne Feinstein, the Democrat in California, is actually a Nazi in disguise; at least based on her actions…

    What is wrong with Californians to keep voting her into office? Are you all stupid or what?

  19. Look y’all all looking at it wrong….if anything is gunna change just drop a large amount of money with a note saying this is wats going to happened….hell anyone who we as the ppl put in office is only making decisions based on which company is paying them the largest amour of money…the entire u.s. government is corrupt and we as the ppl need to stand up all together and over throw our government cause this isn’t wat our 4 farther wanted for us.

  20. Medical marijuana is the only substance that helps my severe migraines without getting me “hooked” on some kind of opiate.

  21. “For these reasons we need to pressure Hillary with the evidence of legalized marijuana’s health care-cost-lowering capability and confront her directly on how she plans to work with a Republican legislature that is still strung like marionettes by the insurance and pharmaceutical companies that continue to fix the cost of medicine and health care at an exorbitant cost to the poor and middle income communities across the globe. This campaign debate HAS to happen soon if we are ever going to reveal who is running on a Big Insurance/ Big Pharma platform and who wants to roll up their sleeves and get marijuana legalized legislatively once and for all.”

    Are you serious? Hillary is on the Republicans side on this issue. She will never see marijuana made medicine without ridiculous anti-American regulations attached. She will continue putting marijuana users and provider in jail. She is a wolf, just like Bill who signed all those bad, illegal bills into law. Still illegal, and still the law. She says, oh yeah arrest millions of innocence people, maybe we’ll take a look at it. Marijuana is less than an afterthought to her. Are we are the stuff she scrapes off the bottom of her shoe. The very thing she wants not to be associated with the Democratic Party. Hillary well and truly believes marijuana turns people into niggers. Everything she has said about marijuana for the last thirty years points to her being a marijuana bigot.

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