House Rules Committee Blocks Marijuana Amendments

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 thoughts

  1. Trump is rolling back every other civil right as he continues to solidify his fascist, illegal dictatorship. He’s not sparing us. Don’t kid yourself.

    Don’t be shocked when the DEA raids begin!

    Yeah, I sent the letter. You better do it too, if you give a damn! There might not be a “next election” that isn’t under the control of Trump and Putin’s joint “cybersecurity” election software division of Russia-America.

    You Republicans are to blame for this, you goddamn delusional idiots.

      1. @ Duck,
        Overstated… Perhaps. Those are Trump’s bright ideas, not mine. In any case, marijuana legalization does not occur in vacuum; there is a social context that sets the reference point for our varying degrees of progress on that issue.

        If America becomes a fascist authoritarian regime (and it is happening, the evidence is obvious) then the cause of marijuana legalization is eclipsed by the cause of Democracy, and Freedom itself.

    1. This is just the reason for them to come raid every person who is listed with the government as a caregiver by laws that they put in front of us To follow even if we followed they want to raid to get the money for their pockets doing this right win a good chunk of people invested money into Factory Productions of big company producing most people already paid for their license and probably will never see a dime of it back and invested a lot of time and material it just started a multimillion-dollar company of Their Own this really seems like they don’t want too many people to reach their level in financial department because they’re scared after a stoner or hippie reaches a certain level finances they might have to treat them equal this industry has saved more life than almost any other decisions for the people cannabis has cure cancer, seizures, and most anything a doctor would prescribe you I can find you a strange that would do the same effects for you without the nasty side effects Channel this is such a good medicine that some people take it just for the side effects besides all the fact that most of you already know what you don’t know this is the industry doesn’t hold your past against you if you’re good at your job and have a trustworthy reputation in other words never Stealing or tell people exactly where you work at for somebody like me it has been very beneficial for me to find work he says I’ll spend are you now becoming a good trimmer what the fuc

      1. Like, BREATH Shaggy! I agree with you but Its called a “period” and a “sentence.” If youre gonna click “Act” and write yer Congressman we need punctuation.

  2. Nooooooooooooooooooo. When will the peoples voices be heard. This is such a travesty and a reminder that public service is failing us in this country !!!

    1. They forgot WE THE PEOPLE Have spoken if ti dose not infringe on your rights why is it against the law it is less harmful than than 5 o clock booze you drink assholes

      1. Exactly if anything should be outlawed it should be alcohol. Never known anyone to harm another smoking pot. Alcohol, a person so drunk kills others on the road, murders someone because they are drunk and sad to say they can’t remember. Marijuana helps me with my pain, my appetite and just helps me feel better. I am a breast Cancer survivor and pray to see the day it is legalized. God grew it for a reason

  3. Shame on you redneck uneducated greedy Big Pharma lackeys!! Next year, I hope your constituents remember to vote you out of office.. Your negative vote in this case does NOT represent the wishes of your constituents…

  4. “…silencing the ability for the lower chamber to offer protections from Attorney General Jeff Sessions when it comes to cannabis.” In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right …to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor (Amendment 6). Congress shall make no law …abridging … the right of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances (Amendment 1). I know that Jeff follows the Constitution to the letter, so show him what he needs to see instead of complaining that Marijuana is illegal and that he is a bad man since that hasn’t and won’t work to affect his behavior. The DACA is being called Unconstitutional by him, for example. A spineless animal is a hurt animal and is very dangerous.

    1. @ Todd,
      Oh, I see… an appeal to Jeff Sessions’ integrity. That’s the same Jeff Sessions who, upon becoming AG, immediately perjured himself in support of a traitor. The same man who was previously barred from serving as a judge because of his criminal activities suppressing minority voters and intimidating and threatening senior citizens.

      That son of a bitch? An appeal to his integrity?

      Good luck with that.

  5. Done and sent.

    So lets recap… House Republicans… specifically Pete Sessions, refused to hold a vote on a widely popular Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment as well a variety of common sense hemp and marijuana amendments that would create clean jobs and provide clean food and building products while simultaneously paying down our debt and protecting states rights? So thanks to Sessions and the Koch brothers Republicans cant even be called conservative anymore?

    We need a massive campaign to add these amendments to the Debt Ceiling bill in December. All or nothing. Its the only way to force the House to a vote. We need celebrities to lobby their Congressman for this plan like Bill Maher. We need our lobby day to push a “Marijuana ceiling” agenda. Otherwise we are looking at a massive federal crackdown on dispensaries possibly as early as October, which will only strengthen our monentum.

    Weve hit the ceiling in our Marijuana Prohibition Tragedy. Its time to make a fool out of Sessions.

      1. Thats great Zeke. You keep planning on that while the rest if us plan on negotiating with our representatives. See who gets results first…

  6. Dear Senators, I commend you in your relentless fight to uphold the will of millions of Americans as they access true medicine and practice medical freedom in healing their bodies. It is our constitutional right to pursue life. The 9th Amendment guarantees us the rights implied but not specifically written. Medical freedom is such a right. We have the rights to heal our bodies with nature in the privacy of our homes without government interference, with plants we choose. Cannabis is not lethal. Ever. Federalism gives the states the rights to do as they wish if they will each reschedule Cannabis in their own borders. The pacific corridor is all legal and the DEA is powerless at this point should all the governors of all the legal states simply unite and state Cannabis no longer meets criteria and we have stated it is medicine. Why should one Prohibitionist in one committee affect the fate of a nation?
    Thank you for your diligence and persistence.
    A nurse.
    A veteran.
    Shelly Servadio RN
    Chair Veterans Caucus IDP
    Co Director Founder Iowa Hemp
    President LimitlessRN LLC

    1. Hi Shelly, Thank you for your input. I agree 100% with your message. I only wish more of our so-called leaders had as much compassion and common sense as you do. This seems to be something the majority of the GOP is completely lacking in.

      People that think like Jeffrey Sessions, who seems to hate anyone and everyone who uses cannabis for any reason, are outrageously out of touch with the American people and science. They are completely disgraceful and their ideology goes against everything I tend to think of as an American value. I was dumbfounded as to why Trump would choose such a person to be his Attorney General but then I came to realize it is because he thought Sessions would help protect him from his Russian connections! I hope they both go down in flames (meaning prison time).

  7. 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.

    1. 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!

  8. 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;

    1. Cheryl,

      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!”

      1. 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?

      2. 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.

    2. 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.

  9. 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?

    1. First time I’ve seen a reference to a pro-prohibition “big hemp”. Can you name some names, organizations?

      1. Glad you posted something on that Mexweed. “Big Hemp?” Oh no! Dont unite small farmers to make us eat safe food!

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

  13. 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.

    1. 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…

    2. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. High Times is reporting that the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment passed in the disaster and debt relief legislation, granting an extension till December 8, 2017.

    Now that Jeff Sessions has been sitting in the AG chair for some months now, he undoubtedly has gotten a bird’s eye view of the overall addiction rates in the U.S. With a president who has a vigilant eye on what’s in the news cycles about him and his administration’s accomplishments–or lack thereof–it is a politically losing position to waste federal resources to enforce federal cannabis prohibition. What’s in the news cycles persistently is the national opioid addiction crisis and NOT legal recreational cannabis. While it will obviously stroke Jeff Sessions’ ego to bust some high profile cannabis community legalization leaders such as happened to Tommy Chong and Marc Emery, it would be a failed move politically to tie up the federal criminal justice apparatus with cannabis cases and then run out of money or have greatly reduced federal funds remaining for investigation and prosecution of hard drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, SYNTHETIC marijuana, crack cocaine and what have you.

  17. I do NOT think of Jeff Sessions in terms of the stereotype of the dumb Southerner. I very much respect his intellect and his capabilities as I would any opponent. You have to respect your enemy in this way rather than underestimate them.

    The national situation on marijuana being what it is, it would be stupid to dismiss completely the serious concerns of Kevin Sabet, but it would be equally stupid to use Sabet’s arguments as reasons to keep cannabis illegal. Sabet’s arguments–the serious ones that have merit–have a place in Public Service Announcements. As state after state legalizes adult recreational, whether one argues it’s really about the money or not rather than public acceptance of legal cannabis, there is no going back to the bad old days making marijuana illegal again. It just isn’t going to happen.

  18. The problem is all of our elected officials are borderline to being retarded and the United States has turned in to the epitome of Idiocracy. But you can buy all the alcohol and pills you want and that is ok, even if you Overdose or kill someone drunk driving. This is the Reagan 80’s all over again. Lets brainwash the children with red ribbon week and sell crack in the hood via the C.I.A.

    1. Oh… the existing budget was merely extended foiling Pete Sessions plans temporarily until December 8th. No conference committee.

  19. Private prison ownership gives you the right to assess compulsive participation, dictate the law to mental health patients, and profit from the ills of others. Must be the doctors organizations.

  20. Federal regulation of cannabis is illegal, period. Congress has no legal authority of any kind in prohibition of any kind without a Constitutional Amendment. This is not, in any way shape or form, an Enumerated Power. Think back to The Prohibition (the reason why an amendment was passed for alcohol prohibition, was because there it was not legally enforceable without it!). Make no mistake, the Commerce Clause in no way allows this (the “justification”).

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