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U.s. House "marijuana-Vote-A-Rama"


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In what advocates are calling a “marijuana-vote-a-rama,” the U.S. House on Wednesday passed several amendments aimed at scaling back federal war on cannabis and to reduce the budget of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

 
As part of the bill that funds the Department of Justice, the House considered the following measures:
 
* An amendment to prohibit the Justice Department from spending money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws — sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA) — passed by a vote of 242-186. (A huge jump from last year, when the amendment won 219-189.)
 
* An amendment to prohibit the Justice Department from spending money to interfere with state industrial hemp laws — sponsored by Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) — passed by a vote of 282-146. (A significant jump in support from last year’s vote of 235-170.)
 
* An amendment to prohibit the Justice Department from spending money to interfere with limited state laws allowing use of CBD oil by children suffering from severe seizure disorders — sponsored by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) — passed by a vote of 297-130.
 
* An amendment to prohibit the Justice Department from spending money to interfere with all state marijuana laws, including full legalization — sponsored by Reps. Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) — narrowly lost by a vote of 206-222.
 
* An amendment to end the DEA’s program of collecting bulk data on American’s communications records — sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) — was approved by a voice vote.
 
* An amendment to take $4 million out of the DEA’s budget and put it toward solving the untested rape kit backlog — sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) — was approved by a voice vote.
 
* An amendment to take $9 million out of the DEA’s budget and put it toward helping victims of child abuse and deficit reduction — sponsored by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) — was approved by a voice vote.
 
* An amendment to take $10 million out of the DEA’s budget and put it towards funding police body cameras — sponsored by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) — was approved by a voice vote.
 
* An amendment to take $10 million out of the DEA’s budget and put it towards legal services for poor people — sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) — lost by a voice vote.
 
Taken together, the votes are the clearest sign yet that a growing bipartisan majority in Congress is ready to scale back federal marijuana laws.
 
“We made incredible progress today through passage of amendments that remove the threat of federal interference from state hemp and medical marijuana laws,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), in a press release. “Congress showed more support today than ever before, making this the latest victory in a quiet revolution underway across America to reform and modernize our marijuana laws.”
 
But, because these are appropriations amendments that only concern the use of funds for one fiscal year, they do not themselves represent a real end to federal marijuana policies that threaten to stand in the way of state reforms. Advocates are hoping they can translate the momentum demonstrated by the funding votes into support for pending legislation to change federal laws.
 
“We welcome it as a temporary fix, but what we really need is a comprehensive and more permanent solution,” Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a press release. “It’s time for Congress to pass legislation that ends prohibition at the federal level and allows states to determine their own marijuana policies.”
 
The amendments are now attached to the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill. The Senate has not yet taken up its version of the legislation.

 

http://news.marijuana.com/news/2015/06/us-house-oks-cannabis-protections-and-punishes-dea/

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