Medical Marijuana

Rand Paul Amendment Would Bar Prosecution of Medical Marijuana Patients

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Comedy Central

Last month Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), together with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), introduced an amendment aimed at protecting medical marijuana users and suppliers from federal harassment. But as I noted at the time, it is not clear to what extent the amendment, which copies the language of a rider approved by the House of Representatives in May, would accomplish its goal. The problem is that it bars the Justice Department from trying to "prevent" states from "implementing" medical marijuana laws, which enforcing the federal ban on marijuana does not necessarily do. An amendment that Paul introduced yesterday seems more likely to hit the target:

FEDERALISM IN MEDICAL MARIJUANA

  (a) State Medical Marijuana Laws.–Notwithstanding section 708 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 903) or any other provision of law (including regulations), a State may enact and implement a law that authorizes the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical use.

  (b) Prohibition on Certain Prosecutions.–No prosecution may be commenced or maintained against any physician or patient for a violation of any Federal law (including regulations) that prohibits the conduct described in subsection (a) if the State in which the violation occurred has in effect a law described in subsection (a) before, on, or after the date on which the violation occurred.

As I read it, this amendment, which Paul attached to the otherwise silly Bring Jobs Home Act, directly bars prosecutions of patients and suppliers who comply with state laws allowing medical use (as the Kettle Falls Five in Washington, for example, apparently did). Hence the Justice Department could not argue that it was merely trying to enforce the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and that any impact on the implementation of state law was incidental. 

Even better, however, is the language of the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, which simply declares that the CSA provisions dealing with marijuana "shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana." That bill, which was introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) in April 2013 and had 28 cosponsors at last count, would effectively repeal federal prohibition in states that legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use. 

Addendum: Paul's amendment covers "any physician or patient," so it would apply to medical marijuana suppliers only if they were also patients (which is common).

[Thanks to Tom Angell for the tip.]

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  1. CHAOS!!!! ANARKY!!!! DEAD CHILDREN AND THE ELDERLY IN THE STREETS!!!!

    1. LOCUSTS! DOGS AND CATS SLEEPING TOGETHER IN THE STREETS!

      1. HORSES EATING EACH OTHER!!!!!

    2. MEN WILL BE MARRYING MEN!!1!!1

      oh…

  2. Ok, this Paul guy is completely out of control. Apparently, he’s for lawlessness and anarchy.

    When I was driving home from work today, I was listening to some extreme derp, like NPR, and they were talking about how this dickweed from MD, named Andy Harris, of the STUPID PARTY wants to stop DC from decriminalizing weed:

    “Leading the charge was Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), who said the measure was “bad policy” that would harm children.”

    Fuck off, cunt.

    1. You’re a little off there Hyperion – Harris is an asshole. You should realize this because he is so full of shit.

  3. I don’t think Rand quite understands that laws are there to constrain the little people, not their benevolent overlords.

    I don’t see why they need to bother passing a law in the first place, considering the Emperor already said that he would be merciful to pot smokers.

    1. And by merciful, he meant that they would only be placed in a cage and butt raped daily for a few months, before being saved by all benevolent government by being placed in a great drug treatment program, operated by his friends.

  4. I keep seeing bills jointly sponsored by Rand Paul and Corey Booker. Looks like a buddy film in the making.

    Srsly, the synergy between those two is a rare and heartening example of bipartisanship – in the old meaning of the word which meant commonsense ideas like declaring war on Japan after Pearl Harbor, not the current meaning of the word which means BOHICA for the taxpayers and citizens.

    1. I love the way Rand calls out the so called ‘liberal’ Dems to test them on their liberalism, and we’re seeing that it can work.

      This is exactly what the Republicans would do if they weren’t retarded SoCons.

      1. It’s also a damned good response to the usual SoCon nonsense about how Paulite libertarians can’t get anything done in Washington.

        1. Well, to be fair, proposing bills isn’t the same as getting them passed.

          I love to see Paul is on a roll with some genuine libertarian legislation. I may have to vote for the first time if he somehow makes it out of the Repub primaries.

    2. Radical notion: Paul-Brooker 2016. Crazy? Maybe. Electable? I think so!

      1. The hope that dare not speak its name?

      2. Never gonna happen.

  5. So, ya’ll, what do you really think about Rand’s chances against the Hildebeast? Do you think the curly hair and blue eyes is enough to steal the wiminz away from war on wiminz? How much will it depend on the moon phase on Nov 2nd? I mean, I’ve ‘heard’ that affect the PMS.

    1. I really don’t know. General elections are extremely hard to predict.

      A better question is what are Rand’s chances against the entrenched GOP candidates in the primaries? Because if he can’t win that, he doesn’t get to go against Hillary or whoever the nominee is.

      1. Good question. I’m sure the GOP will pull out every trick to prevent Rand from getting the nomination.

        Regardless, I’d love to see a debate between Rand and either Shrillary or Fauxcahontas. He would destroy them.

        1. Paul just needs to make it abundantly clear that he’s running whether he gets the Republican nomination or not. And will do so until he wins. The party of stupid will fall in line.

          1. Hm that might be a little arrogant. Rand’s ultimatum should be that either he or a GOP candidate he likes (like Cruz) must be running in 2016, with the GOP or not.

            1. I wouldn’t go public with that. Just make it clear to “the establishment”.

              1. Yes, but I would still make other candidates than Paul acceptable. A short list to be sure.

              2. Wouldn’t matter. They’d rather tear the party apart than let a Rand Paul win. They’re confident that they could flip to Team Blue in the fallout. The only way he could leverage the tactic is to go public with it.

                1. They’d rather tear the party apart than let a Rand Paul win

                  I got no problem with that.

                  1. In and of itself, I find myself increasingly not having a problem with that, either. The thing is, that still means no win for Rand Paul.

    2. I think Hillary would demolish him. Then again I’ve been on the “Hillary would easily beat any Republican challenger (assuming she wins the nomination)” bandwagon for months now.

      I don’t even think I’d give Rand Paul even odds against Elizabeth Warren.

        1. Because 8%

          1. Are you confusing me with somebody else?

            It’s not that I want Hillary to win. I just think she will win.

            BTW, the “8%” thing is a reference to the unpopularity of Obamacare, right? That didn’t stop Obama from getting re-elected. And it’s not like Hillary is Obama’s VP, so even if his approval rating is abysmal when he leaves office, the media will still permit her to run as if she offers “change.”

        2. For the Hillary part, her advantages are name recognition, experience, the “historic first” appeal, the media on her side, and the fact that it’d be tough to paint her as some far-left lunatic.

          For the Lizzie Warpath part, it should be possible to campaign against her by emphasizing how far left she is. But again, with the media rooting for any Democrat (especially a “woman of color”!) I wouldn’t be surprised if the average voter in a Warren – Paul contest thinks she’s a moderate, and he’s the crazy extremist.

          Paul’s disadvantages are inexperience (compared to Hillary), the fact that he simply does not look Presidential, and that it’ll be easy for the opposition to scare voters about how he’s “outside the mainstream.”

          1. Warren can barely even speak. No charisma.

            1. Nevertheless, she seems to have gotten some people excited.

              I have no idea if she’d get the Dem nomination if Hillary really wants it. I just think RP would have a tough time beating even her.

              1. Warren’s poll numbers don’t even put her anywhere near Hillary. They’re even worse amongst liberals!

                1. That’s because Hill-dog is a liberal and Liz is a proggie.

              2. The only people she’s gotten excited are the hardline proggies.

            2. Warren can barely even speak. No charisma.

              Absolutely true, but she could be taught to speak more pretty. She’s not a natural, and that will be a constant disadvantage. It’s the message that is scary.

          2. Name recognition disappears after the vomitorious media exposure of the race. This was true when Clinton–the dark horse’s dark horse–beat Bush, and it’s even more true in the Internet news era.

            I think it would surprise you to the extent that Americans are comfortable disagreeing with the “media,” meaning television and old-school lefty papers like the NYT. Conservatives have massive amounts of alternative media, libertarians have more material than we have time to read here at Reason alone, not counting the Austrolibertarian subschool.

            Agreed that Rand isn’t presidential material in the television era. For the past few generations, clear-winner presidents must possess some combination of easy charm and glamour. Rand isn’t personally glamorous or appealing to typical Republican voters. I know this because my parents are typical Republicans who wasted their time voting for McCain and Romney and don’t like Rand.

            But Rand wasn’t going to win the nomination anyway. He doesn’t have the faithful-steed appeal of McCain/Dole that allowed them to capture primaries, and he’s not the kind of exciting minority character that Republicans are going to want to pursue after the astonishing disaster that was Term 1 Obama got renewed by the electorate.

            Say it with me: Cruz. He will probably turn out to be a shitty president, but he’ll kick the hell out of the Republican field and then trounce Hillary in the debates.

      1. I could see Hillary unhinging her jaw like a snake and swallowing Rand whole.

        But then, I don’t like her very much.

      2. How would Hillary beat him? She couldn’t even beat Obama. Rand can do to her what they did to GoldWater. Her votes for the Iraq War and WORLD POLICE policy can be contrasted to Rand Paul’s foreign policy stance which is in perfect harmony with the American people.

      3. Rand’s biggest disadvantage is that he is a Republican. That’s a steep hurdle to overcome in a general election right now. But if he can avoid going too far to the right in the primaries while still getting the nomination, I think he has a real shot. I have to believe he’ll beat Hilary on the likeability front, he’s developing real bipartisan cred (which people like), and if he can avoid the social issues becoming front a center, I think his policy positions align better with where the majority of the country is at right now on the big issues.

    3. I think he’d beat her. Close, but a lot of people legitimately hate Hillary. I get the feeling that the tide is turning for the Dems. The world has been shit for too long under their rule and that will favor Paul.

      1. I’m optimistic that in the privacy of the voting booth a lot of people pull the lever for Rand.

        She’s just so unlikeable and horrible on issues across the spectrum. Whereas Rand is easily the most personable Republican in the field who does not give off the crazy or extremist vibe the media will try to tar him with.

        1. Really? Civil Rights Act? Aqua Buddha? Southern Avenger? Plagiarism? They already have their narrative set up.

          1. See people? The Catholic guy agrees with me!

            1. Uh, what?

              Must *everything* be about ecclesiology?

          2. There is a major disconnect between that narrative and the way Rand comes off in front of a camera or in person.

            Mitt Romney always looked like the guy that would foreclose on your mortgage, Rand Paul doesn’t talk or act like an actual racist or plagiarist.

            The Aqua Buddha thing is probably a benefit from him given how silly it is.

            1. Paul’s real problem is his dad. He’s been getting nuttier, and Rand Paul will have to address those nutty views.

              1. Why? I’m not responsible for my dad.

                1. That’s not how the voters will see it.

          3. See my response below. At the end of the day, that comes down to style points. None of it is substantive to any discussion. “War on women” or “Binders full of women” only worked because Romney didn’t really offer up a clear, consistent, convincing, message that he had a vision all that much different from Barack Obama. And if Paul runs a campaign that doesn’t offer up a vision that differs much from the Hildebeast, he’ll suffer much the same fate on each and every one of the things you mention. Style points will just about always go to the Democrat. They’ve got the media and celebrity culture in their pocket.

            The thing is, do you think a discussion of Paul’s analysis of a 40-year-old piece of legislation is going to carry a lot of weight when he points out that, unlike Ms. Clinton, he really isn’t all that eager to throw a third of black men into cages on drug charges? Do you think the plagiarism charge is going to matter a whole lot in comparison to NSA spying?

    4. So, ya’ll, what do you really think about Rand’s chances against the Hildebeast?

      Tragically, zero. Wall Street has already decided that the Hildebeest is going to be the next president.

      1. …what?

      2. Tragically, zero. Wall Street The Demop Media has already decided that the Hildebeest is going to be the next president.

        Plus, the Republican establishment would rather have “a Democrat we can work with” rather than a bomb-throwing teathuglitarian hillbilly.

        1. If the DemOp media decides all, why does the is the GOP set to take control of the senate? How did Romney, the worst GOP nom in generations, pull of 47% or so of the vote? The media is bad but enough of this fatalism crap.

          1. What difference, at this point, does it make?

            1. Perhaps I’m an optimist, but I think this line will Hilary’s undoing.

              1. The fact that Hillary can’t even avoid getting snippy with NPR hosts will be her undoing. Politicians, especially presidents, live off their charming, glib lies, and Hillary is the furthest thing from charming imaginable. She’s a harridan, she’s old, she’s white, and she’s been a disaster in both of her official federal positions.

                The leftists want Hillary to be the female Obama, but Obama was almost entirely a blank slate, personally likable on the election trail (I write these words choking back vomit), and Postrel-style glamorous.

                Hillary is peevish even to the party faithful, the furthest thing from a blank slate imaginable, and possibly the sourest individual to capture a Senate seat since the television moved into the living room.

                Hillary on paper might be a decent candidate, especially with Bill doing half the campaigning for her. This is why Democratic faithful who don’t understand the importance of personal charm in political candidacy–in rolling out the vote in addition to appealing to independents–think she’s their man. Hillary in person is a train wreck, doubly so after T2 Obama demoralizes the left and its youth vote in particular.

                On the heels of Obama, Hillary would be the Democratic equivalent of the Republicans running Dick Cheney. An unbelievably tone-deaf, Mondale-esque move.

    5. In the same way that Obama had the advantage of anti-Republican sentiment after 8 years of an increasingly unpopular Bush, I think Paul will have the same advantage after 8 years of Obama.

      I think he will stay calm in the presidential debates and say things that make sense to most people, while Hillary will get agitated and come off as a say-anything-to-get-elected politician.

      Female voters find him intelligent, a better leader than bitchy coat-tail riding Hillary. Male voters have a visceral repulsion to all recorded images and sounds of Hillary.

      In short, Paul crushes Hillary.

      1. Paul beats Hillary among women? Really? Not just among “married white women who attend religious services at least once a week,” but among women in general?

        1. My wife would never vote for her.

          That’s one of the reasons I married her.

      2. Right now Vegas has the Dem nominee as a very heavy favorite to win the whitehouse. Its like 1-2 odds

    6. Well, McCain and Graham have suggested they’d back Shrillary if Paul got the nomination.

      That might just be enough to put him over the top.

    7. I think Paul is probably the only Republican candidate who can beat her. Pretty much everyone else, they have pretty straightforward plans of attack and defense – the Republican comes at her from the center right and the Democrats pick him or her off on style points and minutia because there’s not really a substantive debate. Paul, on the other hand has a clear message with some pretty wide resonance.

      And the thing is she can’t really know where he’s going to hit her from. On foreign policy, if she runs dovish, he can hit her on Iraq. She runs hawkish, he hits her on Benghazi. On the economy, she runs leftist, he hits her on the deficit and lackluster economy. She runs centrist, he plays the libertarian populist card against a textbook crony. The same dichotomy exists on civil liberties or civil rights. In effect, he has her in check.

  6. Notwithstanding section 708 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 903) or any other provision of law (including regulations)

    Doesn’t this essentially nullify the entire bill?

    1. No. That’s what makes the entire bill work. That’s how exceptions are carved out of statutes (and contracts).

      “Notwithstanding that provision that says you can’t do X, under these circumstances you can do X.”

      1. Looking the dictionary, I discover that “notwithstanding” means the exact opposite of what I thought it did. I always interpretted “Notwithstanding X, Y” to mean that Y cannot withstand a challenge by X.

  7. Yeah, he needs to fix the supplier/seller thing.

    It would be nice if this applied to more than medpot.

  8. A good alt-text would’ve been “if you like your weed, you can keep it.”

    1. “This much pot in every chicken!”. Or, something like that.

  9. So it seems Dana Rohrabacher is more advanced on this issue than Rand Paul. The former will protect all suppliers who comply with state law, Rand only if they’re patients or physicians.

    Am I missing something?

    1. I get the impression Rohrabacher is one of the better Team Red members and he’s not even TP. He was pretty sensible on Islamic terrorism too.

      1. He was pretty sensible on Islamic terrorism too.

        Translation: He likes to kill towel-heads. Like me.

        1. When did we start fighting the Sihks? Was it after you burned the strawman army?

  10. Too bad the Nat’l govt ban on Alt Text still exists, amirite? Maybe Rand can work on that next.

  11. Pretty awesome episode of Stossel tonight. I just learned that it is illegal to kill Sasquatches. STEVE SMITH grunts a sigh of relief.

    http://boingboing.net/2014/02/…..rdina.html

    1. Have I mentioned I like Stossel?

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