Anti-Pot Republicans Forsake Federalism in Medical Marijuana Vote


Today more Republicans than ever voted to stop federal harassment of medical marijuana providers, but they still opposed the measure by a ratio of 3.5 to 1. In my latest Forbes column, I consider the implications of the GOP's failure to defend federalism in this context. Here is how the column starts:

Early this morning, by a vote of 219 to 189, the House of Representatives approved an amendment aimed at stopping federal interference with state laws that "authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana." If it is included in the appropriations bill passed by the Senate and signed by the president, the amendment would prohibit the Justice Department, which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), from spending taxpayers' money on dispensary raids or other attempts to stop medical use of marijuana in the 22 states that allow it.

Similar meaures have failed in the House six times since 2003. This year the amendment attracted record support from Republicans, 49 of whom voted yes, compared to 28 last time around. "This measure passed because it received more support from Republicans than ever before," says Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project. "It is refreshing to see conservatives in Congress sticking to their conservative principles when it comes to marijuana policy. Republicans increasingly recognize that marijuana prohibition is a failed Big Government program that infringes on states' rights."

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.

Read the whole thing.

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  1. Federalism is fine as long as we all agree on the same thing.

    1. The list of utterly unrepentant hypocrites in politics is repulsively long.

      1. Does anyone have the roll call link? I’m wondering if there is an age bias in who voted yes. Are the younger Rs who didnt come into political being in the law and order nixon days voting differently?

          1. Thanks I just berated my congressman.

        1. Roll call link.

          The Ayes among the Rs are mostly who you’d expect. Amash and Massie, of course. Sanford, Mulvaney, Rice, and Duncan from SC (but not Gowdy or Wilson), since SC got a lot of fairly libertarian Rs. (In SC, the split is libertarian Rs vs. conservatives, Ds are also-rans.) Some older guys like Walter Jones, Jr. (fresh off his primary win), Spencer Bachus, Don Young, Fred Upton, etc. Steve Stockman and Paul Broun.

          Some from CA and NY: Rohrbacher, McClintock, and Hunter, Hanna and Collins.

          Other relative young ones voting Aye included Ted Yoho, Renee Elmers, Lynn Westmoreland.

          Idiots with the last name King voted against.

          Pretty much as I’d expect. The same group as in 2007, plus a smattering of Tea Party / libertarians elected in 2010 (and since, for Sanford.)

          1. Chaffetz was a non voter; voted agaisnt in 2007 as noted. Bishop of Utah was an Aye, though. I believe Utah adopted a liquid marijuana extra medical marijuana program in the meantime.

    2. Lots of libertarians oppose federalism on certain issues.

      That isnt necessarily a problem.

      1. It is for me.

  2. ot: Hey guys and gals, I’m not one for pushing ’causes’ that don’t involve people giving me money or saucy women handing over their hotel keys, but here’s one I feel is important.

    A 19month old baby was critically injured and burned and potentially disfigured by a flashbang tossed by a SWAT team. (the news story was posted last night by someone, I don’t remember who). The grenade landed right in the crib by the baby’s face.

    Anyhoo, the Sheriff is indignant and while he says it’s all unfortunate, he blames the people in the house and says he “wouldn’t do anything different”.

    The family is trying to raise money as they have no insurance. Here’s the link to the donation page. Do whatever you can:

    Here’s the news story.…..aid/nf9SJ/

    1. God damn it Paul. I just got up. Can’t I eat my eggs and bacon without becoming enraged?

    2. You should post that donation link in the Hit and Run article on the attack, too.

      1. Shit, thank you FoE. I missed that.

    3. Obamacare doesn’t cover flashbangs to the face?

    4. (the news story was posted last night by someone, I don’t remember who)

      That would be me

      I will be making a donation myself and encourage others to do so

      1. Thank you SIV. Sorry I didn’t call you out. It was an important story but I couldn’t remember where I read it.

    5. I’d donate but before doing so, we sure this is a legit site? Considering its a couple saying they are friends. Do we know this is not a scam?

      1. I’ve done some of my own checking, and I may call the hospital today, and possibly the station that aired the story.

    6. Hey Paul, heard of AM links?

      Already discussed in detail.

      1. And in the actual link to the story.

      2. Yep, FOE pointed that out. However, this one is important enough– and us West Coasters don’t often catch AM links because by the time we get up, AM links are three hours old and way down.

        Frankly, this shit should be posted as an OT on every single thread this morning.

    7. the Sheriff is indignant and while he says it’s all unfortunate, he blames the people in the house and says he “wouldn’t do anything different”.

      Is there a fund to have this pile of shit curbed?

      1. Yes, but it nowhere near matches the fund to keep him in power.

  3. Colorado:
    Gardner, Perlmutter, Tipton…idiots.

    Gardner is running for Governor too. He will pay for this vote.

    Coffman voted for. Mildly surprised.

    1. Gardner is running for Senate against Udall. I don’t see how voting against is good Colorado politics, particularly in the Gardner case.

  4. Nice article, Jacob.

    While Obama seems like a feckless and halfhearted supporter of marijuana federalism, most Republicans seem utterly unprincipled on this issue. Here is an opportunity to defend something they supposedly believe in?state autonomy under the Constitution?while simultaneously criticizing a Democratic administration and siding with a majority of Americans.

    Once again, the GOPer’s manage to step on their own dicks. The perception that the party is comprised of old, white, uptight men who are out of touch with average Americans is not a stereotype; it’s a fact.

    1. Obviously someone isn’t thinking enough about CHILDRUNZ!

  5. Stupid party’s gonna stupid.


    1. Most days, I wish you were aborted.

      1. Most?

        1. Well, there are days that I don’t read H&R, and on those days, I don’t think about shriek, hence the lack of action on those days.

          1. That was an impersonation!

            I know you hate me which humors me to no end but I will also point out we agree on 98% of issues.

            But I escaped the GOP plantation and you cannot stand that.

            1. But I escaped the GOP plantation and you cannot stand that.

              And ran straight for the proggy one!


              1. Independent.

                Progressives hate Obama, I will remind you. The moonbats are in love with Lizzy Warren.

                1. Based on polling that shows Mr O has a 90 percent or so approval rating from self desribed liberals/progressives. I’d say you are a bit off.

                  1. Most Obama supporters are modern pro-market liberalish liberals – not progressives.

                    Would a Mark Warner join the Progressive Caucus? No. Tester? McCaskill?

                2. Progressives hate Obama, I will remind you.

                  I have two questions of you. Will you be here all week, and should we try the spicy wings?

                  1. I won’t forget to tip the waitress.

                3. Progressives hate Obama

                  (Citation needed)

            2. I know you hate me which humors me to no end but I will also point out we agree on 98% of issues.

              Really? I would say it’s closer to %8

            3. I will also point out we agree on 98% of issues.

              Would be interesting to actually read one of them.

          2. Maybe I spend too much time here.

            1. Or, you just picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

              Damn, two Airplane! references for me today.

              1. Nicely done.

  7. Look, the GOP establishment is beholden to the SoCons.

    And because the SoCons have the same type of ban boner that those other Puritans across the isle, the Proglodytes, have, there has to be scary monsters under beds and things to ban.

    One of the all time favorite boogey monsters of the SoCons is drugz.

    This is not difficult to figure out. The fact that this bill passed is only because of the infiltration of the GOP by libertarian leaning forces. The SoCons are still the same, and along with the NeoCons, they are still the majority of the GOP.

    No surprises here.

    1. Don’t forget suburban mommies, who are constantly trying to get the government to pad life’s sharp corners to protect their offspring.

      1. I for one, can’t blame enough shiite on soccer moms. If the shoe fits…

      2. ^^ This. If anything on this issue they are the primary constuency that drives this – not the socons.

    2. Given public opinion, the best libertarians can really hope for is a solid cohort that can be a balance of power / swing vote, and a leadership willing to let things come to a vote.

      It’s pretty much the same group of 40-50 that voted (along with nearly all Dems) for Mulvaney’s bill to apply the sequester to DoD funding a year or two ago.

  8. this helped:

    Democrats overwhelmingly supported it, by a ratio of 10 to 1

    1. Wait until it gets to the Senate. The dems will not support it because Harry Reid has already informed them that they will not. If they try, he will never let it come to a vote.

      Your hero’s DOJ wants to bust up some medical MJ joints and seize them some free assets. And some pesky congress is not going to get in the way of that.

      1. Let me just state that more clearly.

        Your hero is an authoritarian jerk.

        1. PB loves licking fascist boots.

    2. It did. Strangely, they didn’t support it nearly so much when it came up when they controlled the House, but I suppose public opinion has changed. It’s come up every few years, and this is the first time it’s ever gotten a majority.

  9. Come on, does anyone think federalism is at all important? Like, policy should vary with geography? I think some people, if they have no other reason to take a position on an issue, or all other factors leave things at a shoulders shrug, then will say, OK, go by geography. Otherwise they’re not serious.

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