Congressional Leadership Resists Bipartisan-Backed Marijuana Reforms

CongressCongressional leaders have moved in recent days to quash a number of proposed marijuana law reforms.

Specifically, provisions previously voted on by Congress to expand medical cannabis access to eligible military veterans were removed by leadership during the conference committee process. Members have yet to speak publicly as to why the language was removed. Both the Senate and the House versions of the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill contained the marijuana-friendly provisions prior to the reconciliation process.

The move follows a decision earlier this week by Republican leaders on the House Rules Committee to deny members the opportunity to vote on a Democrat-sponsored amendment that sought to permit banks and other financial institutions to engage in relationships with state-compliant marijuana businesses. Senate Appropriations Committee members had approved a similar amendment last week by a vote of 16 to 14. That amendment, which is now included in the Senate’s version of the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, awaits further action on the Senate floor. If approved, the Senate bill will ultimately need to be reconciled in conference committee with House leadership.

In April, NORML released a Congressional Scorecard assigning letter grades ‘A’ through ‘F’ to every member of the US House and Senate based on their marijuana-related comments and voting records. To see what grades your Congressional members received, please click here.

39 thoughts

  1. It doesn’t surprise me at all that the Party of No is being prohibitionist. The longer you’re in elected office the higher up you move in leadership and chairing and sitting on the more influential and important committees. The 65 and above age group is least likely to be in favor of anything pro-cannabis. If you look at the age of these Republicans, they’ll likely fall into that category, and they’ve put the younger prohibitionist Republicans in place a defensive tackles.

    Come on, Michael! Michael Botticelli, I am counting on you to deschedule marijuana. It’s less harmful than both alcohol and tobacco.

    1. Oh yeah, the link is for the rich carpetbaggers coming in from out of state who are guaranteed a competition-free medical marijuana marketplace in Pennsylvania to comment on how they want the Commonwealth to set up the regulations for dispensaries. The fix is in. Big Bucks will have the guaranteed profit of a fixed medical marijuana marketplace in Pennsylvania, as you’re not allowed to grow your own or form a cannabis collective or medical marijuana club. You can’t use the dried female flowers to smoke or to vaporize, so these big-buck outfits that make the tinctures and the cannabis cartridges for vaporizers are going to make a killing.

      1. Waiting for publicans to age out. there are no young Republicans, They’ll have to get with the times or be phased out. Sad itl take 15 years

  2. Mr Bennet’s cash men are bribing house leaders just like they did in Vermont. If they want to profit from prohibition really should move to Iran and work for their religious mafia.

    Really Bennett is getting fatter and lazier and not losing enough of his money in the slot machines.


    1. I can feel your anger and I can relate. I’m already wanting to sue them for obstructing any action on the zika virus. I hope they all get a case of guillon barre syndrome.

  4. Old white men will be voted out of office in disgrace due to ignorance and intransigence.

  5. The government has no right to keep anyone from smoking pot because god gave it to us read genesis

    1. Ironically, the Republican bible thumpers seem to be the people most in favor of continuing to ruin the lives of those of us that choose to use cannabis. I hope their god punishes them for this ignorant crapola!

  6. It’s my opinion the Republican must be voted our of office. A national Effort by the Bernie Progressives to dump the GOP onto it’s ASS out of Congress & out of our lives. Permanently.

  7. The poster faces of prohibition are from my district; Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Senator Cornyn… are the living epitome of bull$#!+ excuses for prohibition, wearing weathered, plastic smiles held up by beurocratic sherriff’s associations and private prison lobbyists, to name a few.

    But even in Texas their days are numbered.

    Both the Republican and Democratic platforms after both conventions here support expanding and improving the Compassionate Use Act and the legal cultivation of industrial hemp. Governor Abbott signed a bill that provides low levels of THC on both bills, said “I will never sign a medical marijuana bill” but admitted nonetheless through his signature that marijuana, with THC, is medicine.

    These are the bills that are going to pass in my state; the state many believed would be the last to legalize.

    With that said, is it obvious that more Democrats are taking the lead when the Democratic platform voted to “decriminalize marijuana like alcohol,” ? Yes… Of course.

    But what gets bills passed are bipartsan measures. Its when people in the districts of Chuck Grassley or in my district speak up to our representatives and let them know they are on the losing side of history, that Americans require we work and negotiate across the aisles to represent the majority of Americans that we begin to become part of the solution instead of the stay at home, no-voting problem.

    Take Action.

    Citizen lobby.

    Dont need a license to do it.
    Cant end prohibition without it.

    1. A citizen lobby is a great idea. What are your thoughts on citizens lobbying for marijuana reform based on constitutional principles, if those principles include a identifying marijuana as cannabis smoke, and continuing cannabis prohibition for publicly traded corporations for a period of time so as to allow local businesses and regulations to be developed?

      NORML already supports smoking marijuana, and the big corporations aren’t interested in marijuana according to this report from the Brookings Institution, so a citizen lobby could advocate a uniquely different point for our mutual benefit.

      This proposed reform of the federal definition of marijuana is formatted to conform to the Necessary and Proper clause, it restores the originally accepted practices of growing and reasonably using the cannabis plant by the People in accordance with the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, it restores the protection of the Supremacy clause to the People who grow and use the cannabis plant, it preserves the constitutional controls for its use which subsist within the current definition while allowing auxiliary corporate involvement, and it can be subsequently rescheduled because it upholds our Constitution:

      Sec.802.(16). The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L. which is prohibited to be grown by or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company.

      Compare to the current definition of marijuana shown here:

      Other uses for the plant Cannabis sativa L. are in Sec.7606 on page 264:

      So, this year IS a good time for the citizens to lobby and contact our representatives in Congress to enact this reform of the federal definition of marijuana.

      1. If Sec. 802(16) is to be formatted to serve as an advertisement for Combustion $moking, when Vaporization is available (and even $aves money in the long run), maybe it’s reasonable to ask, what’s your vendetta against Vaping, did you try some advertised commercial utensil and have a respiratory disappointment with it? Or did you ever try Vaping at all?

        “The difference between A $moker and a Vaper is that the Vaper knows how to $moke and won’t, but a $moker most often is someone who hasn’t learned how to Vape yet.”

        Easy-learn technique with a flexdrawtube oneheater: $uck $mooth,$low, don’t $tart glow till after 19 $econds or $o. Easily handmade device at “12 Easy Ways to Make Vape Toke Utensils from #40 $creen and $1.29 Worth of Everyday Junk Left in Your Garage by the Previous God”.

        25-mg servings with a microdosage utensil will replace “Big Tobackgo” (700-mg commercial $ig) and “Big Marijuana” (500-mg Joint); Vape will replace $moking; Cannabis and hundreds of other (inventively bred) UNADDICTIVE inspiration herbs– basil, chamomile, damiana, dandelion, eucalyptus, fo-ti-tieng, ginseng leaf, hops flower, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme, peppermint, pennyroyal, etc.– will largely replace tobacco (but not entirely, “reformed” less addictive, more medicinal tobaccos will be grown and microdosed by users instead of “heavy $moking”, several grams burned per day as $ig addicts do.

        How will corporations make decent well earned money? Manufacture the utensils. Furnish herb (multi-species) sifted ready to toke in one-gram cannisters (40 servings at 25-mg). Build service towers along passageways where y0u can suck a toke etc.

        The oneheater serves as a transitional education device to convert the $mokers– they can light it up quick at first like they did a joint, then learn how to suck and heat (up to 19 seconds), more marley less monoxide.

      2. The service towers let you serve the toke out of the wind, you step up, push a button, suck from a tube onto which you can first mount your personal mouthpiece if you’re feisty about germs. Image one at every bus stop, bike-lockup etc.

      3. “If Sec. 802(16) is to be formatted to serve as an advertisement for Combustion $moking, when Vaporization is available…”

        Like how alcohol prohibition was an advertisement for drinking alcohol?
        Like how the absence of the word smoke in the definition of marijuana has so successfully prevented cannabis smoking?
        Its more like how cannabis growing, possessing, vaping, dabbing, eating, and liquids-applying would be the unscheduled alternatives to the still debatable appropriate schedule for the production of medically viable, recreationally desirable, stinky, and offensive “marijuana smoking”.

        The question indicates some persistent misunderstanding, but the smoker/vaper quote is befitting. The proposed format serves the Constitution. Its placement in the Schedules is the advertisement against smoking. It is obvious that the current definition of marijuana has failed the Constitution and the People, so its correction is offered. The Responsible Smoker’s legal quest continues, while being facilitated in a non-obvious way.
        We just need to convince Congress to make the change.

      4. Weve been down this road before, Year. Its hard enough for an unlicensed citizen lobbyist to keep track of and focus on a specific topic in his or her state, like separating medical marijuana from discussions about industrial hemp from legislation about recreational marijuana without getting sidetracked by an arbitrary conversation about the definition of “smoked” cannabis. You wanna cash in on some quasi prohibition on smoked cannabis so states can still jail people for consuming marijuana the same way our ancestors have done since we speciated from homo erectus? Fine, go ahead. But for those of us who still think its immoral to incarcerate anyone, proportionately or otherwise, who privately smokes marijuana or is in posession of a joint, were going to keep citizen lobbying our legislators, city councils or who ever will listen that we are not going to sit down over prohibition of any kind any more, period.

  8. The move follows a decision earlier this week by Republican leaders on the House Rules Committee to deny members the opportunity to vote on a Democrat-sponsored amendment that sought to permit banks and other financial institutions to engage in relationships with state-compliant marijuana businesses.

  9. “The move follows a decision earlier this week by Republican leaders on the House Rules Committee to deny members the opportunity to vote on a Democrat-sponsored amendment that sought to permit banks and other financial institutions to engage in relationships with state-compliant marijuana businesses.”

    Republicans are not our friends, NORML fans, they are our enemies.

    Remember this fact in November.

  10. America was such a great idea in the beginning. Unfortunately, the majority of today’s Congressional Republicans are a bunch of slimebags that have screwed everything up.

    Too bad we can’t just throw them the hell out right now!

  11. “Why” is what I would like to know. Must take a lotta nerve for these so-called leaders to go out of their way to screw veterans, when it appears the veteran-friendly provision had already approved by both House and Senate Chambers, if I’m reading that correctly. So, even in pretense, how could they justify that? (I would imagine, with the usual reefer madness rhetoric casting marijuana as a menace to veterans, and everyone else. Just a guess. But I’d be curious to know.)

    [Paul Armentano responds: Washington Post staff writer Christopher Ingraham tweeted <> this morning that Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) and others in leadership on the House Appropriations Committee were primarily responsible for the 11th hour removal of the Veterans Equal Access Amendment from the the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.]

    1. @ Paul Armentano:
      Thank you! Now I see that Hal Rogers (R-KY) did the chickenshit deed on the sly, didn’t want it known at the time, and that’s why there was no justification given.

      Lots of Military families in Kentucky. Lots of veterans who gave a lot for Freedom. If I were Hal Rogers, I wouldn’t want to have to explain myself to a bunch of pissed-off combat veterans.

      And, the political organization S.A.M. is speaking as surrogate, saying (just as I suspected) that marijuana is bad for veterans with mental health issues.

      But, of course, it is prohibition that is bad for veterans with mental health problems.

      Besides, all veterans have earned the right to smoke it, by the nature of their service to their country. If you risk your health, your life for America, I guess you have a right to heal your own health with cannabis.

      So why did he do it? Well, I took a look at Hal Rogers website. He’s pure drug warrior. He brags about it; here’s an excerpt from his website:

      (quoting Hal Rogers:)
      “Since 2000, I have helped direct $35.106 million in funding for marijuana eradication efforts of the Kentucky National Guard and the U.S. Forest Service in the Daniel Boone National Forest. In 2007, law enforcement officials eradicated 1,365 plots in the DBNF, totaling 104,684 marijuana plants.”

      Way to piss away our precious tax dollars, Hal!

  12. Another effective way we can get rid of these prohibitionists is we team up and each donate to their opponents before elections this year.
    The biggest most obstructive partisan leader award on the Republican side is by far Chuck Grassley, (R) Iowa. He has been single handedly stalling the CARERS Act in the Senate Judiciary, not to mention unconstitutionally stalling the president’s moderate Supreme Court nominee. Allow me to introduce his opponent;
    Patty Judge (D)

    Dont know much about her honestly, but I know shes not Chuck!

    On the Democratic side the obstructionist prohibitionist leadership award goes to Debbie Washmoney Shultz, (D) FL who laundered so much money during Clinton’s rescheduling cannabis campaign against Sanders’ descheduling that her name has officially been changed from Wasserman to Washmoney. She denies the evidence that medical marijuana can treat opiate addiction strangling her own district in Miami-Dade. She takes money from private prison lobbies and drug testing empires. She claims to be the poorest in Congress while she stuffs money into offshore tax havens, Swiss bank accounts and a Danish pharmaceutical company worth 80 billion called novo nordisk whose main product is a pill for diabetics that is known to cause cancer! She lies on camera then works behind the scenes as chair of the DNC to favor the establishment. Hey… And marijuana is known treatment for both diabetes & cancer… Need I go on?

    Washmoney’s opponent; I have posted here many times before, a progressive candidate endorsed by Sanders who takes only small individual contributions has now been officially accepted as a viable candidate;

    Tim Canova (D) FL
    Tim supports marijuana legalization, is prepared to work across the aisles and believes we need to end the drug war.

    If each NORML member contributed $15 to these two campaigns we could have the CARERS Act passed by January 2017.

  13. Please sign the petition & share with your friends. This is a travesty & needs to be resolved by forcing these leaders to act on what their people are telling them that Marijuana is a safe alternative for Psychotropic drugs.

  14. At least Trump is not prohibitionist, He’s most certainly not a traditional GOP’er. The right of states to set their own ways is important to him and he believes in letting the states compete for jobs.

    That policy in due turn will allow the states which do well with MJ to have a chance to prosper and those which slap down the weed to suffer, assuming it works out that way. In the final analysis, $$$ trumps ideology in America.

    1. Drumph took money from private prison unions and Sheldon Addleson, the Vegas casino tycoon investing in defeating Florida’s efforts to legalize where most of their clients from the black market to politicians look to launder their money. Drumph is a prohibitionists laundry machine. Why do you think he wants to build a wall? More drug money to launder through Miami.
      We really need to stay focused on Congress.
      Please Type “scorecard” into the NORML search engine at the top of the page.

    2. When Trump was on the Bill OReilly show, OReilly tried to get him to condemn marijuana, and Trump hedged; wouldn’t take the bait. Trump said positive things about medical use, and even got OReilly to petulantly admit that cannabis patients were receiving benefit.

      Hillary, on the other hand, while on another talk show, feigned ignorance on the benefits of medical marijuana, suggesting that too little is known about it, and that it could be dangerous when “mixed” with other medications (a load of shit which you might expect a right-wing, hard core drug warrior to say — I mean spray.)

      I’m for Bernie, myself.

      So. I can write in Bernie. Or I can vote for the candidate who is most marijuana friendly. Is that Trump? Or Hillary?

      And can I believe either of them? If Trump is a serial liar and Hillary is a compulsive liar, as Julian says, does that make it pointless to even ask their postions?

      Folks, I’ll make my own decisions — these are rhetorical questions. But I’d like your opinions. They may help me make my assessment. It seems Trump is ahead of Hillary on marijuana! Am I right?

  15. Tennessee sure is sucking in this category. Of course one must wonder about Congresswoman Diane Black (R) of TN. But then she is married to the founder of Aegis Corp., a drug testing conglomerate. Hmmm, can you say conflict of interest? She’ll never vote for anything positive in the way of legalization. Drug testing is her bread and butter to the tune of over 50 million dollars!!! Clean Tennesseans out of our federal legislatures! And I am a Conservative!!! Like they always say, ‘just follow the money’…

  16. Back in the 60s we we sure that sensible pot reforms were coming due to the growing body of scientific knowledge and an increase in social awareness.

    Fifty years later…

  17. What I have read… Paul Ryan (R)-Wis. Ordered the House to come in session at 3am. Hal Rodgers (R) Ken removed the marijuana for Vets. Both men are NOT Veterans. Another anti-vet is Joe Wilson (R) SC who became famous for shouting at the President “You Lied”. Well all of these fools are Anti-Veteran. signed a Viet Nam Era Draftee.

  18. The congressional leadership wants to continue the killing of our returning soldiers so they do not have to take care of them for their entire future.

  19. I can’t help but wonder how many of these decision makers served the nation in the military services and not just profited from their positions of public authority.

  20. The Republicans are not NORML’s friends, people. Remember this in the fall. The GOP is desperate to win back the White House. Vote against them this Fall.

    Apparently, the GOP is even more broken than the Democrats after the election of Ronald Reagan. If they want to put together a viable political party, make them earn the stoner vote. Then make them earn it again. We need to own these guys like the gun lobby currently owns them.

    The conservatives represent the last bastion of marijuana prohibition. Think about it: when they surrender, you could take your guitar to a park, smoke a joint, and play music with friends.

    That’s farout, man!

    They will NOT change until we make them.

  21. The state capitol Congressional office buildings have lead in the water;

    That explains a lot.

    If this helps Flint Michigan and America’s outdated infrastructure, then like the classic Great Stink of London of 1848 that finally fixed the sanitation in their city, (because parliament couldnt work over the smell one hot summer) …I’m begining to wonder if some Congressman need to get arrested for possession of marijuana?
    Oh wait, that already happened like 9 months ago;

    Ok, well a New York state assemblyman who was stopped speeding and suspected with smell, who opposed medical marijuana. Nice.

    But with Republican Dana Rourbacher-CA coming out and telling NORML citizen lobbyists he consumes medical marijuana I wonder if these kinds of Canna-confessions are a better approach?

    1. CannaConfessions..: by Jack Handy;

      Once I went to a Burger King in D.C. in 1995 and saw Newt Gingrich eating a whopper by himself, looking rather lonely. About that time a young black man walked by him and blew some marijuana smoke in his face. Newt sneared one side of his face but kept eating his burger in his abject isolation from society. This occurred right after as speaker of the House Newt attacked D.C. Mayor Marion Barry for getting elected again after a sting operation caught him smoking crack with a prostitute on camera. Mayor Barry was even at my graduation and offered me a job, of which I refused, stating “Excuse me, Im with my family.” Another day in America during 1995… Classic…

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