Breaking… (updated)

US House votes 219 to 189 to prohibit DOJ funds from raiding or interfering with state medical marijuana programs.

It isn’t a done deal yet, but this is historic.


I’ve been reporting on votes in the house regarding this kind of bill since I started blogging, and year after year, the results were so depressing. Finally, we’re making some progress with Congress.

House Votes to End DEA Raids on Legal Medical Marijuana Operations

Currently 22 states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana use for medicinal purposes. Five others don’t allow smoking, but do allow CBD oils.

“This year’s huge vote increase can largely be attributed to the fact that lawmakers only recently began hearing the moving stories of the many children whose severe seizures are only relieved by marijuana,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, in a statement. “Being able to list these CBD states in the amendment text meant that more members of Congress that represent these states voted yes than otherwise would have. Counting these states, 60 percent of the U.S. population lives in a place where state law disagrees with federal law.”

Update 2: Project SAM tweets their reaction:

We’re disappointed in the House Rohrabacher amendmt which allows marijuana grown in public parks, Colombian cartels, etc. Will Fix in Senate

Colombian cartels?

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41 Responses to Breaking… (updated)

  1. N.T. Greene says:

    I had heard the other way around… do we have a source for this?

  2. darkcycle says:

    This is historic. Don’t get too excited though…

    • N.T. Greene says:

      “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”

      • Duncan20903 says:


        “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” — Thomas Jefferson
        I shouldn’t get excited by this vote from the GOP “controlled” House of Representatives because it’s likely that the Democrat “controlled” Senate is going to put the kibosh on the deal?

        • Rick Steeb says:

          It has always been the Republicans holding this back. But then there’s Feinstein…

        • darkcycle says:

          Yes, Duncan. Just you watch. But it’s not gonna matter which party whoever belongs to.
          I thought you realized, two heads arguing on one body. But the legs keep marching forever in the same direction….

        • N.T. Greene says:

          Even if this gets beat in the Senate somehow (it’s possible but less and less probable — turns out this little piece of legislation is winning some popularity contests because of this), it is still a huge blow. Certainly, the drug war has taken some serious hull damage over the past year. She’s a sinking ship. I’m sure a few of our favorite characters will be going down with it.

          I actually wouldn’t be totally surprised if Leonhart ended up out on her ass if/when this passes up to the president’s desk. She’s given all indications that she doesn’t care what science, Congress, or the President says. That guy from the VA was pressured into resigning — I wonder if Leonhart will be given the opportunity to resign at all.

  3. “If any political observers weren’t aware that the end of the war on marijuana is nearing, they just found out.” ~Tom Angell

    There have been some real boneheads in the Senate. Here is hoping that the writing on the wall is big enough for these blind gentlemen and ladies to see without their reading glasses. They are up next.

  4. divadab says:

    States’ rights! Some Republicans are starting to get it.

  5. kaptinemo says:

    This is how you kill the The Beast: you starve it.

    More evidence of the demographic shift that is leading much of the impetus behind reform. It’s becoming ever clearer to those pols who will be paying the taxes in the future, and the vast majority of those people are the ones that want cannabis legal again…and who don’t want their tax dollars going to feed a monster that is deliberately designed to harm them.

    As more and more taxpayers inform their pols that they don’t want to pay for the DrugWar’s machinery used to attack them, it will become obvious to all but the densest that the jig is up. Those pols who cannot or will not accede to the fact the ‘war’ is lost will be replaced by those same pro-cannabis, voting members of the public. Who’ve got a real reason to vote, and has been shown by recent years, do, indeed vote.

    Another toll of the bell for the DrugWar. This is our version of a Boland Amendment. And this time, if the forces of prohibitionism try to end-run around it, it will be so obvious that the inevitable reaction of cutting Federal and State drug agency budgets in retaliation will become a given.

    So, please, prohibs, try to worm your way around this one. A very sharp budgetary – and political! – axe awaits your necks if you do…

  6. I had a thought, should any Congress members have their ears on. Since the NSA seems so intent on blurring the lines between terrorism and the drug war by sharing information with the DEA, I suggest we restrict the DEA budget to fighting terrorism oversea’s.

    Their staff and headquarters could relocate to Afganistan and become part of the 10,000 staying permanently. Michelle goes with them.

    • jean valjean says:

      i think michele should be sent to china instead. i understand they have a huge problem there with bicycle theft. she could put her sleuthing skills to good use. she d probably like the unashamed totalitarian laws and execution for bike thieves too.

  7. Windy says:

    I am wondering, if this is successful at getting signed into law, how it is going to affect the trial of the Kettle FAlls Five? Will they drop the cse or go ahead with it, the POS US Attorney who brought the case is just stubborn and stupid enough to take it all the way.

    • primus says:

      If they are not permitted to spend ANY resources to pursue this trial it is difficult to see how they will be able to proceed.

    • darkcycle says:

      Unfortunately this won’t help the Kettle Falls Five, who are already charged and awaiting trial. The charges can only be dropped by the prosecutor, and in this case, I don’t see that happening.

  8. DdC says:

    THCFoundation ‏@thcfoundation
    U.S.: Congress Votes to End War on Medical Marijuana Patients and Providers | Hemp News

    Jeannie Herer ‏@JeannieHerer
    The House just voted to protect medical marijuana patients from federal interference …

    “Approval of this amendment is a resounding victory for basic compassion and common sense.” – NORML’s Erik Altieri on tonight’s vote.

    NORML US House Votes to Prohibit DOJ From Interfering With State Medical Marijuana or Industrial

    LEAP ‏@CopsSayLegalize
    House Blocks #DEA From Targeting Medical Marijuana The first of the reports on the vote.

  9. DdC says:

    My Congressman truly is a representative…

    .@RepSamFarr – “This is essentially saying, if you are following state law…the feds can’t just come in and bust you.” #EndRaids

    .@RepSamFarr – “This is a practical reasonable amendment in this time and age.” #FreeMMJ

    .@RepThomasMassie – “Isnt it ironic that 1000lbs of cocaine and heroin cross borders but #DEA thinks seizing KY’s hemp is worth their time?”

    .@RepBonamici – “It’s rope, not dope. I urge an ‘Aye’ vote.” #YesToHemp

    .@repblumenauer (in support) – “There are a million americans with legal right to medical marijuana, problem is fed govt gets in the way.”

    US House votes 237 to 170 in favor of prohibiting DOJ from using funds to prevent cultivation of industrial hemp in states were it’s legal!!

    US House votes 219 to 189 to prohibit DOJ funds from raiding or interfering with state medical marijuana programs. #VICTORY

    OaksterdamUniversity ‏@Oaksterdam
    VICTORY! US House votes to #DefundTheDrugWar

    .@DanaRohrabacher – “Some people are suffering, if a doctor feels he needs to prescribe, it is IMMORAL for this govt to get in the way!”

    .@RepBarbaraLee “This is the right thing to do, the democratic thing to do. Enough is enough.” #EndTheRaids

    .@RepBarbaraLee – “it’s past time for DOJ to stop unwarranted persecution of medical marijuana and put resources where they are needed.”

    .@RepBarbaraLee – “I rise in strong support of this bi-partisan amend. This will provide much needed clarity to patients and businesses.”

    .@RepPaulBrounMD (in support of ending raids): “Marijuana is less dangerous than narcotics we are prescribing across this country.”

    .@RepJaredPolis – “Let us have access to the seed to ensure…the next crop of hemp products is made in America.” #HouseFloorDebate #hemp

    and the prohibitionist employees…

    .@RepAndyHarrisMD – “Marijuana is not safe or legal. There is more evidence every day that it is not safe.” #Umm

    any day now honest…

    .@RepAndyHarrisMD – “this is like me saying instead of giving you penicillin, telling you go chew on some mold.” #What? #CantMakeThisUp

    .@RepFleming – “There is no widespread accept use of marijuana for medical purposes.”

    .@RepFleming – “This is an extremely dangerous drug for our children and for future generations.” #ReeferMadFleming

    .@RepGoodlatte (in opposition to industrial hemp) – “The amendment is unnecessary and inappropriate.” #BooThisMan #HempForAmerica

    .@RepFleming (in opp. to ending raids) – “If we want to make a statement on the 10th amend fine, don’t do it on the backs of our kids.” #Boo

  10. Frank W. says:

    But will the DEA listen?
    Ralph Kramden:”Every year the Royal Society of Raccoons votes to not take our wives on the annual fishing trip. This year I vote that we tell ’em about it!”

    • Tony Aroma says:

      I think it’s been shown many times already, the DEA does not answer to Congress. Nor the president, nor anybody else. They make the laws that they enforce. (By that, I mean the DEA decides which drugs are legal and which are not.)

      • B. Snow says:

        Worse, the DEA “Administrators” overrule their own damn DEA Judges/Lawyers = whomever… “Because Honey-Badger” I guess?

        And they aren’t questioned by anyone that could dispute their decisions – Arguably because whoever replaced them might be more competent (?)
        And, therefor = possibly do the job even more over-zealously than Leonhart does now…
        As it stands, many people don’t take her seriously – a replacement might be – “more effective” – and that could seriously suck. Not a good excuse = But, its the only semi-plausibly reasoning I can come up with.

  11. claygooding says:

    It says to me that the DEA will claim any dispensary bust from now on as an organized crime investigation instead of a drug investigation,,then they are not using their budget to “pursue” MMJ providers but criminals operations,,,the sad part is there are a lot of criminal operation dispensaries.

    And does this effect the DEA when they send NSA evidence to your state or local police?

    I was chatting with several others that were watching the vote and they were all wringing their hands like it was already lost,,sadly my cookies kicked in so I posted we had lost the vote on reducing DEA MMJ raid funding,,apparently there were a lot of last minute “Yay” votes because my last check had the nays leading by a little.

    Now we can start asking our legislators if marijuana is medicine enought to remove funding for busting providers and users then why is it still Schedule 1.

    • Common Science says:

      Yes, the DEA have never even stepped sideways for reform of any kind. There has never been any reason to ruin the shine on their numerous attorneys” shoes. But can you hear that at their backs? Is the ground starting to give beneath the wall this year? What a lovely time for a sinkhole to appear.

      • claygooding says:

        I am not detracting the thud,,and yes,,a legal International market even for MMJ would just about wind this little baby up,,waiting patiently is killing me.
        I think Canada and Jamaica will be the first,,,but do not count out other SA countries like Colombia becoming involved,,,overnite with very little press about it.

  12. N.T. Greene says:

    Why, I’ve come of age in exciting times. Its as if progress is coming with the wind. To the layperson, it seems sudden and without any explanation, but…

  13. stlgonzo says:

    I am sure this comes as no surprise to any of the regulars on the couch.

    People Are Using More Heroin Because It’s Cheaper Than Painkillers

    “A new study conducted by Wash. U. says that an increasing number of drug addicts simply can’t afford fancy painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin anymore, so they’re switching to a cheaper alternative: heroin.”

  14. allan says:

    re update 2…

    “I’m melting, I’m melting…”

    Does it burn, Calvina? Hey Kev, smoke that. Never been run over by a 300 MPH freight train before, eh? Get used to it, suckahs.

    or as we love to say here on the couch – THUD!

  15. N.T. Greene says:

    The amendment certainly doesn’t allow growing in public parks.

    If you’re going to fearmonger, at least try to do so in a way that isn’t an obvious fabrication.

    You hear that, Kev? They’re coming for your precious rehab next. The drug war and rehab-for-profit go hand in hand… and they’ll soon be going hand in hand off a damn cliff.

  16. DdC says:

    Kevin Sabet is an Asshole.

  17. Tony Aroma says:

    Just wondering how the various reps voted. You’d think all the reps from mmj legal states would vote FOR this legislation, as would all the senators. But I have a feeling that’s not the case. Not at all. I think anyone from an mmj legal state that DOESN’T vote in favor needs to be called out on their decision to go against the wishes of the people that put them in office.

  18. Steve Finlay says:

    The dominoes have been falling for a while, but this one is really, really big.

  19. allan says:

    here’s the friends and foes list from the vote

    from the RollCall blog:

    There were 49 Republicans who voted “yes” on the medical marijuana amendment, jointly sponsored by Rohrabacher; Sam Farr, D-Calif.; Don Young, R-Alaska; Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.; Tom McClintock, R-Calif.; Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.; Paul Broun, R-Ga.; Jared Polis, D-Colo.; Steve Stockman, R-Texas; Barbara Lee, D-Calif.; Justin Amash, R-Mich.; and Dina Titus, D-Nev.

    Of the 172 GOP “no” votes, five came from members of leadership: Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, Conference Vice Chairwoman Lynn Jenkins of Kansas and Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam of Illinois.

    Fourteen votes in opposition came from committee chairmen. They were:

    Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan
    Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia
    Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas
    Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa of California
    Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline of Minnesota
    Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan Wisconsin
    Ethics Chairman K. Michael Conaway of Texas
    Veterans Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller of Florida
    Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas of Oklahoma
    Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers of Kentucky
    Rules Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas
    Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce of California
    Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas
    Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon of California

    The “no” votes from senior Republicans indicate that despite marijuana’s increasing embrace by the mainstream, the GOP establishment continues to bristle at the concept. It highlights just how difficult it could be for Congress in the near future to pass any more expansive legislation addressing marijuana legalization, at least as long as Republicans control the House. In fact, consideration of the amendment to the C-J-S appropriations measure was only made possible because the underlying bill was brought to the floor under an open rule, meaning that anybody could force an up-or-down vote on a germane amendment.

    Rep. John Fleming, R-La., who said recently he would fight the District of Columbia’s decriminalization of marijuana, also voted “no,” along with fellow Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise, who serves as chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

    Republican opposition votes even came from those who hail from Washington and Colorado, which legalized marijuana completely, and from California, which is one of 22 states with a robust medical marijuana program. California Republican Reps. to vote “no” included Paul Cook, Jeff Denham, Doug LaMalfa and David Valadao. Republicans from Colorado to rebuff the amendment were Cory Gardner, who is running for Senate, and Scott Tipton. Dave Reichert from Washington also voted “no.”

    There were, however, some influential members among the 49 GOP lawmakers who voted “yes,” including one member of leadership: Republican National Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon.

    Two committee chairman voted in favor of the amendment, too: Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings of Washington and Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan.

    In addition to Hastings and Rohrabacher, naturally, California Republicans Duncan Hunter and Tom McClintock also voted in favor of the amendment. So did Colorado Republican Mike Coffman.

    Another notable vote for the provision was Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., who is widely considered Scalise’s successor to run the RSC in the 114th Congress. His vote could be viewed in the same vein as that of Amash and Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie, two GOP members who have strong libertarian streaks.

    Democrats, meanwhile, overwhelmingly voted in favor of the amendment — with some exceptions.

    Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida gave the amendment a thumbs-down, as did three committee ranking members: Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander M. Levin of Michigan, Agriculture Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota and Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Texas, who serves as chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, also voted “no.”

    A number of members from the fiscally conservative Blue Dog coalition were also among those who voted “no.” They included Reps. John Barrow of Georgia, Jim Cooper of Tennessee, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Pete Gallego of Texas, Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina.

    Rahall and Peterson are also Blue Dogs.

    In addition to the medical marijuana vote, an amendment prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp production laws passed with 237 “yes” votes. An amendment prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp research programs passed with 246 “yes” votes.

    • primus says:

      Some of those who voted ‘no’ will be running for re-election in November. There may be repercussions in the upcoming campaign. Locals might call them out publicly for their vote, may assist their opponent, might encourage other, like-minded voters to cast for the opponent etc. How many will be toppled? Everyone who is not running this November will be running in ’16. They will be paying attention to what happens to those incumbents. They will be thanking their lucky stars that they have two extra years to ‘evolve’ if it appears to be necessary following this election. Indeed, in the future I think this election will be seen as the tipping point where the whole house of cards collapsed. If the Dems do well it could also encourage O’Bama to move more strongly by rescheduling, reining in the DEA etc.

      • Windy says:

        Anti-Pot Republicans Forsake Federalism In Medical Marijuana Vote

        Yet Republicans still overwhelmingly opposed the amendment, by a ratio of more than 3 to 1, while Democrats overwhelmingly supported it, by a ratio of 10 to 1. Given the GOP’s frequent lip service to federalism, the party’s lack of enthusiasm for letting states set their own policies in this area requires some explanation. So does the need for this amendment under a Democratic administration that has repeatedly said it is not inclined to use Justice Department resources against medical marijuana users and providers who comply with state law. It is hard to say who is being more inconsistent: a president who promised tolerance but delivered a crackdown or members of Congress who portray themselves as defenders of the 10th Amendment but forsake federalism because they are offended by a plant.

    • Tony Aroma says:

      Any senator or representative from WA, CO, or any legal mmj state that voted against the wishes of the people that put them in office ought to be ashamed of themselves. They’re basically saying they want the feds to come in a put a stop to what the voters of their state have said they wanted. For shame!

  20. Klay says:

    I am interested to see how the Senate will vote on this – I would like to see Rand Paul come out strongly supporting it. It is a signal that the game has changed but how much has it changed?

  21. DdC says:

    Houses Pro-MMJ Vote Shocks Supporter
    Even longtime supporters of marijuana legalization were surprised early Friday morning when the House of Representatives voted for an amendment that would prevent the Drug Enforcement Administration and federal prosecutors from targeting medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

    “Quite frankly, many of us who were sponsors of this amendment… didn’t expect to win and were surprised by the margin of that victory this morning,” Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said at a press conference Friday morning, less than nine hours after the vote.

    US Congress Votes to End Federal Medical Marijuana Raids
    The bill with the medical marijuana protection amendment now has to make its way through the senate. Recently Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) voiced his support for medical marijuana.

    There is a long road ahead for this bill but with outspoken Senators like the Honorable Corey Booker and Patrick Leahy, there is a high probability of significant change coming to federal marijuana policy in the near future.

  22. DdC says:


    House approves measure to cut funding for feds unless they crack down on legal weed
    A Republican congressman has successfully pushed legislation to pressure the U.S. Department of Justice to crack down on marijuana in states that have legalized its use.

    On Friday, a seemingly contradictory measure was passed. The House of Representatives approved an amendment to prohibit the federal agency from spending taxpayer money on activities designed to stop the use of medical marijuana in states in which such use is legal.

    Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by Rep. Fleming

  23. Ted Boster says:

    This is could be the call of good times ahead.

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