Historic House Appropriations Committee Vote On Marijuana

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.

41 thoughts

    1. 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.

      1. Dain,
        Coming to you as a progressive Democrat in a “hostile Republican” legislature “without voter initiatives” I can tell you this is good news. We’ve been watching Jeff and Pete Sessions block amendments to protect state legalized medical marijuana for years now every time there was a budget negotiation. Now the Sessins crime family has been bypassed by more permanent legislation from the House Appropriations Committee.

        This means Texas has a greener path to legalize mmj this January. And as an added bonus, Pete Sessions might even lose his job! Now THAT’s worth celebrating.

      2. Julian, point taken.

        I won’t speak for you, and I do support harm reduction. Incremental change is often how progress occurs. Congratulations on that, to that extent.

        But yet, I do imagine it must be maddening for some folks in your neck of the woods to have to put their freedom on the line for their medicine, in view of the freedoms that those in legal states may take for granted, or at least, as normal.

        We’re all in this together, is really what I mean to say. And, the problem with viewing legalization through the states-rights lens is that it risks dividing us by class, blood or soil. That’s bad. The problem is that we are fighting on our enemy’s terms instead of ours.

        While I am a firm believer in harm reduction, I just feel we should stop asking permission from Republicans, with their states-rights crumbs on offer, and start overthrowing Republicans in favor of Democrats, who are ready to legalize it, now.

  1. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. Hello Dain Bramage, I smile when I see your name and think of the nice vibe in the music and magic of the Dreadful Great. Regarding Cannabis though, as you likely know, it’s a neuro-protectant and such 60s musicians were prescient in their early advocacy of it.
        Regarding politics, you and I have been around a long time and really didn’t see very many politicians of either major party supportive of legalization. Some of the earliest advocates of overturning Cannabis prohibition were the Republicans Ron Paul and of course his son Rand who is in the Senate.
        I see that recently some of the Democrats also, even the previously prohibitionist ones, are picking up the legalization banner as we all become more educated about the amazing health benefits accessed by Cannabis enthusiasts.
        United we Stand, the truth about this healing herb is available for everyone by now.

      2. Ancient James,
        Yes, that’s true, I feel ancient myself sometimes. There was a time when you couldn’t tell the Democrats from the Republicans when it came to marijuana policy. ANYONE speaking out about the lie called marijuana prohibition was speaking Truth to Power.

        But things have changed. Now, the Democrspeaare openly supporting marijuana legalization; and, the Republicans are openly supporting treason.

        Rand Paul voted to confirm Jeff Sessions for AG; when questioned on it, he blamed his own vote on the Democrats. That makes Rand Paul a fraud, as far as I am concerned. He is just there to talk pretty; but, he votes with the fascists.

        Trump is our generation’s Hitler.
        He, too, must be defeated.

      3. “Democrats” I mean. I didn’t write that other word-thing. I might be crazy, but I can spell better than that. It’s “The Man” and his technology, I swear!

      4. “… openly supporting treason,” and, “… this generation’s Hitler.”
        Lies, lies, more lies, and propaganda courtesy of Mr. Bramage. Day after day.

        And such hypocrisy. As if the F word, fascists, doesn’t apply to the majority of the wacky left these days. Holy cow.

      5. Trump is our generation’s Hindenburg. Watch potential successors carefully. A Reichstag replay could be further down that road.

      6. Mexweed, your name reminds me of the seedy shit-weed my friends and I smoked growing up north of the border in California. The schwag weed smelling like gasoline, moldy orange peels, and coffee, full of spider webs. I’m sure these keywords make me a racist.

        There is no Hitler shit happening in our country other than the brain washing happening within the left. Folks like you continue to perpetuate insanity across the nation. BS. You’re the ones that will hang your heads in shame when you finally realize you’ve been used. You’re part of the hoax. The right, and specifically the Republicans, are certainly a bunch of clowns, but wake the fuck up and realize you’re being played even more than they are. Christ!

      7. Leroy, there you go again… Your same old boring “both sides suck” argument represents a false equivalence, and fails on that basis.

        Without facts, one cannot evaluate the difference; but, apparently, you have a court order to stay at least 1000 yards away from all facts at all times. (Perhaps it is for the best, considering your tendency to butcher the facts.)

        Leroy, my ignoble adversary, you reek of Trumpian blame projection; by accusing me of being paid, you reveal your own game, once again providing evidence that you yourself are the paid alt-right troll.

        Evidence, Leroy.

        I see right through you, Leroy. But I hope you get paid more than I do, because I am not a cruel man.

      8. @Leroy: Leroy, you say no Hitler stuff is happening in the US. Well at the risk of violating Godwin’s law: Trump (the draft dodger) is telling US citizens that if they don’t salute the flag to leave the country. Sounds Hitlerian to me. Trump is scapegoating and demonizing immigrants as agents of the MS-13 (Ironically it is Trump that is the MS-13 biggest promoter). Another Hitlerian tactic. The press thinks twice about hurting Trumps feelings because some reporter doesn’t want to on the receiving end of Trumps wrath. Sounds Hitlerian to me to when journalists get cowed. And calling white supremacists “good people”. Now Leroy, you may dispute that these tactics are not Hitlerian, but I’ll tell you one thing: they are sure as unAmerican. Do you hate your country that much that you would allow yourself to be conned by a sociopathic grifter? What does that say about you, let alone Trump? Dear Leroy, what brought you to such a dark place?

      9. Help me understand the ms13 crap, Sean. MS-13 = Bad, mkay? Calling them animals is fine by me. Just like saying SOME illegal aliens are rapists and bad people. Facts. Why is there a need to mislead the public by saying Trump called all immigrants something awful? Why claim he insulted Mexicans when the tape proves that’s just not true?

        Do you watch the WH press briefings? Do you disagree that the left leaning journalists look for gotcha moments with every question they pose? The media today is terrible, and it’s not Trump convincing me of this. And, Obama has zero to do with the argument, his coverage is irrelevant.

        Trump didn’t say white supremacists are good people. Yet another total lie you’re choosing to spread. Take shit out of context, doesn’t mean it’s true! You’re insane to think he could actually do the things the media claims he does and still be in the WH. We wouldn’t allow it. But you and people like you choose to think he praises racists and remains POTUS, and oh such an injustice… that’s just not true.

        Check your alternative facts and understand more of us would be outraged if this stuff was really true.

        Hitlerian and sociopathic grifter? Those are some crazy buzz words, my man.

  2. 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.

    1. 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!

  3. 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….

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

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

    WE DON”T HAVE TO SPELL ROHRABACHER-BLUMENAUER ANYMORE!!! YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSS!!!!!!

    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.

  6. 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?
    https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/2667/cosponsors?pageSort=lastToFirst

    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!

    1. 6 Republicans cosigned out of 21 on the Hemp Bill. One Independent, Senator Angus King from Maine signed on. Still no Kamala Harris. Or Corey Booker. Or Kristen Gillibrand. And they want to run for President?
      If you are from California, New Jersey or New York will you PLEASE call your Senators and ask them WHY on God’s green earth haven’t they already taken this ephemeral opportunity to take the title of “conservative” away from Republicans and vote for water, soil, jobs and small farm conserving Senate Bill 2667, known as the Hemp Farming Act of 2018?

      Call your Senators here:
      202-224-3121

      1. Yeah, the Corporate Fix is working its way back into the election cycle. Some mainstream media are inserting the meme that progressives are hurting Democrats’ chances of taking back the House.

        But that sounds fishy to me. Trump supporters will never vote Democrat, no matter what Democrats do. But the rest of America supports the progressive agenda: legalizing marijuana, universal Healthcare, Education, and more.

        If the “Centrists” (Corporatists) have a reasoned case to make, I haven’t heard it yet.

      2. The Blue Dog Democrats and the Neo-libs need to stop pissing into the wind chasing crazy white Trump supporters, who have nothing but contempt for Democrats, and start getting out the vote among normal human beings with things like marijuana legalization, universal Healthcare, properly funded public schools, police reform, and more!

        Please, Democrats! Feel free to “steal” Bernie Sanders’ policy positions! They have been focus group tested by real, actual voters, and they are popular! (Remember?) Tell your Corporatists they’re not in charge any more!

      3. Dain,
        Sure, there will always be corporate pressure on whoever looks like a winning candidate. But Gillibrand is not accepting PAC money. I really don’t get what the hold up is with her cosigning a hemp bill that is right in line with her vocal support of marijuana reform, creating clean jobs, etc. If its not on her radar, thats a problem. People from New York need to call her office and let her know that.

  7. 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.

    1. Anon,
      “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!

  8. Wow! I wasn’t sure anyone at Norml knew how to spell OHIO! I check the site often and try to stay up on all things cannabis but it seems Norml rarely shows love for OHIO. Representative David Joyce (R-OH) is doing work for 46 states according to the article above. Please Norml work your magic in Ohio. Ohio needs reform too.

    1. Gene,
      While Dain is correct, especially for people of color, you don’t want to negotiate with the cops: keep your stash stashed in air-tight containers in the trunk and find out what a Motion to Supress Evidence is if you get searched without consent.

      But to answer your question more thoroughly, you need to citizen-lobby your state legislators to include language to protect employees from mmj drug testing for off-the-job marijuana use. This needs to be written into pending NJ state marijuana legislation. Even employers who don’t consume marijuana can recognize the benefits of keeping qualified workers employed is more beneficial and lucrative than the insurance kickbacks of employee drugtesting. Tell that to your state reps.

      Massachussets did that when they legalized and last year it resulted in the case of Barbuto vs. Advantage Sales & Marketing in the Mass. SJC court which awarded damages to the plaintiff, a woman who was fired for off the job medical marijuana consumption.

      I’m very exited about NJ which may soon become the first state to legalize marijuana legislatively, that is, without voter initiatives forcing Republican legislators to properly represent their constituents. The way NJ writes their state mj laws will set the precident for federal mj law and therefore the entire nation. Make sure they include quality testing for legally taxed marijuana, not drug testing hard working, tax paying employees!

      1. Better yet, stop drug testing all together and move to performance impairment testing, which is more accurate, more effective, less invasive, and tests for current impairment, without excluding non-drug-related sources of impairment such as exhaustion, illness, and alcohol.

        Some boneheads think we still need drug testing to catch the hard drug users,but the vast majority of positives, to the tune of 90%+, are for mj, because gardeners flush out so fast that using drug tests for them is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Drug testing does nothing to keep anyone safe,and is nothing more than security theater that actually makes us less safe by giving a false sense of security, of having “done something” to filter out the “bad guys”. Ditch the drug testing and go to performance impairment testing!

      2. I absolutely agree, Demonhype. I don’t care what the driver is on, touch your nose and walk the line, Congressman.

        What I want “drug testing” to mean is testing for pesticides or dangerous chemicals in my weed. What I DON’T want “drug testing” to mean is “Fu€k this job, Go pee in your own cup!” It just doesn’t add up to a productive society.

      3. Check out John Oliver’s coverage of the ambiguous meaning of American “Rehabs.”

        http://youtu.be/hWQiXv0sn9Y

        “‘Liquid gold’ shouldn’t be urine; it sounds more like a vanarial disease Acquired from fu€king CP-3-O.”

  9. sigh, ok, upon further reading, Sessions DID leave the door open for hemp in the future, but still….lol, when weed is legal here in MI I can calm down. There is also a video of the panel hearing out there as well…

  10. I must say this is a very big deal and a major milestone. When the current administration seized power last year I had utter dread wash over me, fully anticipating a return to the no-knock raids (not that they’ve gone away but they’re greatly reduced) by jack-booted stormtroopers with a penchant for concussion bombs and itchy trigger fingers.

    What’s clear is that the nation doesn’t want that anymore, and would prefer government focus on more important matters. I was, thankfully, very wrong about that.

    May the racist elf and his minions be stymied for the remainder of their tyrannical careers, and continue their trek towards the dustbin of history.

  11. Im almost75 soon been token for over50 years. And waiting for the rest of the world to catch up witw me lol.I was a Democrat and my family was to….these left wing nut jobs made me turn Republican. I love my weed but i would never vote for it to be legal if i thought it would harm my country ..SOME THINGS ARE BIGGER THAN WHAT AN INDIVIDUAL MAY WANT. …GOD FAMILY COUNTRY WEED. HOWEVER ITS COMING SOON IM IN PA. I SMELL THE WEED IN PA …

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