A Bipartisan Coalition of House Members Tried to Defund Obama's Medical Marijuana Raids Yesterday, Failed

Yesterday, 163 members of the House of Representatives voted to defund federal raids on medical marijuana where the plant is legal under state law. The amendment was sponsored by three California congressmen—Dana Rohrabacher (R), Tom McClintock (R), Sam Farr (D)—and New York's Maurice Hinchey (D), and was tacked on to Fiscal Year 2013 Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations bill. The amendment, which failed yesterday 163-262, reads as follows

None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Seventy-three percent of Democrats supported the amendment, but only 29 House Republicans.

"It is time for the federal government to stop targeting the legal vendors that are providing safe access to this treatment, and instead focus limited resources on those who sell illicit drugs," Rep. Farr told the Huffington Post yesterday. "The amendment I will offer with my colleagues will work to assure funds under the Department of Justice do not target the safe access to treatment patients need.”

Some reactions from the drug reform lobby, starting with MPP's Steve Fox: 

“It is encouraging to see so many members sending a clear message to the Obama administration,” said Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project. “These 163 members are tired of seeing federal resources dedicated to undermining state medical marijuana laws. They understand, especially members from medical marijuana states, that when the Obama administration forces the closure of medical marijuana dispensaries, they are driving patients back to the streets to acquire their medicine. States are doing the right thing by ensuring that patients have safe access to medical marijuana. It is only a matter of time before every member of Congress accepts this truth.”

Drug Policy Alliance's Bill Piper: 

“Both Democrats and Republicans are telling the Obama administration: enough is enough, stop wasting taxpayer money to undermine state medical marijuana laws,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs of the Drug Policy Alliance. “President Obama needs to realize his assault on patient access is not just immoral – but a serious political miscalculation. For more than a decade, polling has consistently shown that 70 to 80 percent of Americans support medical marijuana.”

This isn't going away. Last week, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) released a letter condemning Obama's raids. The week before that, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) called the raids "bad policy and bad politics." 

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  • Ken Shultz||

    Interesting that Obama can see the light on gay marriage, but he just can't imagine letting sick patients relieve their pain.

    He'll flip-flop on anything else...

    What an intolerant bastard, Obama is!

  • Duncan20903||

    Umm, he had to flip flop to get to his current position.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Just watch.
    If the race is close enough and he needs to pull a rabbit out of his hat of tricks to "energize the base", he'll flip on this, too.

  • Drake||

    That picture really makes me want to be a DEA Agent. They get paid good money with a big government pension - to carry a gun while wearing shorts and a T-shirt, lean against a building, and enjoy a nice day.

    You private sector chumps could pay my salary and I better not hear any complaints.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Look, Obama can only do so much good. Yesterday, he freed the gays. Tomorrow, who knows? Maybe he'll start executing Republicans. Oh, these are heady days.

  • John Thacker||

    Here's a link to the roll call vote.

    The Rs on the good side include most of the names you'd expect, from Amash to Broun to Flake to Paul et al. A few moderates, like Hayworth of NY, Fred Upton of Michigan.

  • daveInAustin||

    From central Texas, democrat Lloyd Doggett votes more fiscally conservatively than Lamar "SOPA" Smith and John Carter.

  • ||

    Lamar Smith was my former congressman, what a piece of shit. Of course now I have Sheila "I'm fucking crazy" Jackson Lee.

  • Peter L||

    Is there any chance we can get Amash to run for Senate? They were talking to Levin on NPR yesterday and it made me cringe. Not anything specific he said, just the way he assumes he is right in everything he does just grates on me.

  • John Thacker||

    Right now his first problem is re-election. He got a crapped on a bit by redistricting, as the Michigan GOP decided to concentrate their efforts on more reliable members.

  • John||

    I was speaking to some pretty hard core supporters of the drug war last week. The new excuse why we can never legalize marijuana is that it won't show up on breathalyzers. So people could be smoking the evil weed and driving and cops wouldn't be able to tell.

    They make this argument without irony.

  • BakedPenguin||

    the only good thing about that insanity is it looks like they're getting desperate.

  • Zeb||

    Exactly my thought. I think that at this point, many people will see through the bullshit, at least where pot is concerned. I hope.

  • ||

    I don't understand. Why would that be ironic?

  • John Thacker||

    If no one can tell, then why should it be illegal?

  • Duncan20903||

    New? What are you talking about? The first time I heard the lame excuse that we can't re-legalize cannabis was in 1976 when Jimmy Carter included decriminalization of petty possession in his campaign platform. The propaganda value of not having such a device is much more significant than the need to have it.

  • Mike Parent||

    So, now he Repubs are agreeing with the President. Corruption makes strange bedfellows.
    Dems and Reps, different pages from the same bad book!

  • John||

    Don't read too much into symbolic votes. It is easy to vote for something you know is not going to pass. A lot fewer of those Dems would have voted for this had they thought it might actually pass.

  • John Thacker||

    A valid point. For example, take the Ex-Im Bank vote yesterday. A bunch of Dems voted against the Boeing Bank when GWB was Prez and their votes wouldn't matter. Yesterday, with the rebellion on the GOP side against the Bank, every House Democrat voted for Ex-Im Bank funding.

  • R C Dean||

    Sure, its symbolic, and sure, it failed, but this is still actually kind of encouraging.

    I would not have thought that many Reps would go on the record as opposing federal medpot raids.

  • John||

    I would be curious to see a breakdown by time in Congress. I would guess the newer members were more likely to vote yes.

  • Just Dropping By||

    These are the Republican "Yes" voters if you want to try to work that out:

    Amash
    Amodei
    Bass (NH)
    Benishek
    Broun (GA)
    Burton (IN)
    Campbell
    Flake
    Garrett
    Grimm
    Hanna
    Hayworth
    Heck
    Johnson (IL)
    LaTourette
    Lummis
    McClintock
    Mulvaney
    Paul
    Petri
    Rehberg
    Ribble
    Rohrabacher
    Royce
    Upton
    Walsh (IL)
    Young (AK)
    Young (IN)

  • Nephilium||

    Wow... LaTourette's vote is encouraging...

  • Voros McCracken||

    My current congressman, the spawn of a former ridiculed vice-president, is fairly new and he voted a big 'no.' He also sponsored SOPA before pulling his support after the internet protest.

    Also note that Paul Ryan voted "no."

  • noodles66||

    LMAO... O supports gay marriage, something he has no control over... ...yet, he has control over the DEA and all federal agencies.
    ...we will show all these POS the door come election time.
    Zero (0) deaths from cannabis in the recorded history of man, O.

  • Bobarian||

    The other side of this discussion is that this was attached to a budget (2013 Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations bill). What was in that bill? How much did the amendment really have to do with how people voted on it?

  • John Thacker||

    The bill contained the budget for the Departments that you mentioned. The amendment was germane, because it was related to instructing the President and the DoJ how to spend (or not to spend) the appropriated money.

    Yes, if you're a big believer in the power of the Executive, you could oppose it for that reason.

  • fried wylie||

    enough is enough, stop wasting taxpayer money

    EOM.

  • ||

    "Seventy-three percent of Democrats supported the amendment, but only 29 House Republicans."

    I can not fucking stand it when journalists mix percentages with raw numbers.

  • repeal1968guncontrolact||

    Almost every news story on this hides the vote tally so here's the link to the traitors who voted no: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2012/roll238.xml

    Call your congresstraitors and tell them they've lost your vote unless they immediately apologize for voting against states rights and voting against personal rights for the sick and dying.

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