Federal Budget Forbids Spending to Oppose Medical Marijuana, but Congress Considers Overruling D.C. Vote to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Saturday, December 13, 2014
(graphic: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

For advocates of decriminalizing marijuana use, Congress has both giveth and taketh away.


Contained in the same mammoth budget bill are provisions that would help the medical marijuana movement and halt one jurisdiction’s popular effort to legalize recreational use of the drug.


On page 213 (pdf) of the spending plan, there is language barring the U.S. Department of Justice from taking actions against states that have approved marijuana for medicinal use. This prohibition would apply to operations by the Drug Enforcement Administration.


“[N]one of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used... to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana,” the provision states.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) introduced the language in the House’s version of the budget bill. Among its backers is the Credit Union National Association, which could see new customers if pot dealers were able to use the banking system instead of dealing in cash.


Michael Collins, a lobbyist for the Drug Policy Alliance, told Vice that if the provision is adopted into law, it would represent “an absolute game changer” for the medical marijuana movement.


But the news is not all good from the halls of Congress. One House member, Republican Andy Harris of Maryland, wants to prohibit the District of Columbia from implementing its new law legalizing recreational medical marijuana. D.C. voters just approved the plan last month with 70% supporting it.


Harris says the law is a bad idea because it will lead to more drug use by teens.

But Attn.com says Harris’ motivation may have less to do helping kids and more with making his biggest contributors happy. The GOP lawmaker has raked in more than $300,000 in support from pharmaceutical companies—an industry that doesn’t like competition from marijuana and its ability to help those suffering from pain or side effects associated with chemotherapy.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Congress Is About to Block the Feds from Cracking Down on Medical Marijuana (by Timothy Burger, Vice)

Amendment to HR 83 (Government Printing Office) (pdf)

One Congressman Just Ruined Legalized Marijuana in DC For Everyone. Here’s Why (Attn.com)

One Extremist Congressman Just Ruined Legalized Marijuana For Everybody in DC (Attn.com)

Who’s Funding the Anti-Marijuana Movement? Private Prisons, Prison Guards, Police and Alcohol, Beer and Pharmaceutical Companies (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

House of Representatives Votes to Stop Obama Administration from Raiding State-Approved Medical Marijuana Facilities (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)


Scientist 9 years ago
The need to immediately legalize Marijuana nationally is the most pressing moral issue of our time. More and more present and former members of law enforcement agree. Please see http://www.leap.cc/. I'm a Scientist. Not a politician, not a Cop. Like the majority of Americans, I strongly support the immediate, complete legalization of Marijuana. But as a Scientist with a strong interest in Cancer research, I feel even more strongly about the need for its immediate legalization of it for Medical use, and the need to ensure that no Cancer patient is denied it, than I've ever felt about any issue, because I'm so impressed with its benefits for Cancer patients. Dying of Cancer sucks, ask, anyone doing it. Cancer patients can't wait. I urge everyone reading this to PLEASE call and email the Attorney General, the press, Congress and the President today. Its amazing what a few well written editorials and interviews on news programs can do. Medical Marijuana not only helps with Cancer therapy, seizures, PTSD and chronic pain, but has helped countless Americans, including countless veterans stop using Alcohol, and hard drugs, both legal and illegal ones. Every minute an American dies of Cancer. Every 19 minutes an American dies of a prescription drug overdose. Many vets become addicted to prescription opiates and die from them. NOBODY has ever died from smoking too much pot. Lots of people's stage 4 Cancer has been cured by high dose Medical Marijuana oil, and every Cancer patient that uses Marijuana to ease their suffering benefits greatly from doing so. It is immoral to leave Marijuana illegal, for anyone, for even a second longer. But for Cancer patients, its a matter of life and death. Cancer patients can't wait. Medical Marijuana has an unmatched safety profile, and for people who suffer from so many diseases of so many kinds its a medical miracle, and the scientific evidence behind it is rock solid. For example, Medical Marijuana encourages apoptosis and autophagy of Cancer cells, while leaving normal cells untouched, is anti-angigogenic, anti-proliferative, and is anti-angiogenic. Its also synergistic with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, making both more effective. For many Cancer patients its meant the difference between life and death. For everyone else, its a far safe alternative to Alcohol, and infinitely safer than Cigarettes. Either take them off the market too, or legalize Marijuana right now. 2016 is too far away, Its too long to wait. Every year we lose more Americans to Cancer than died in WWII. Between now and the 2016 elections, roughly 1 MILLION Americans will die of Cancer. And Its a horrible way to die.

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