WHAT: Voted to stop funding the war on states with medical marijuana programs
WHEN: May 30, 2014
WHERE: U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C.
WHY: To respect the traditional right of states to determine the practice of medicine
In the U.S. Congress last week the House of Representatives voted to stop funding the federal war on medical marijuana programs. Jay Lassiter, a participant in New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program said, “I’m happy to see this vote play out in Congress. It's a long-overdue discussion.”
Since 1996, twenty one states and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana laws. The federal government, however, considers marijuana a Schedule I substance with no accepted medical uses. The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has ruled that the federal government is within its powers to enforce its laws against marijuana even in states that have medical marijuana programs. At the same time, the SCOTUS has not invalidated any of the medical marijuana laws, and has said that physicians cannot be penalized for recommending marijuana for their patients.
On Friday, May 30 the House voted 219-189 in favor of the Rorhabacher-Farr Amendment to the government’s appropriations bill. This amendment prohibits the use of funds to the Justice Department, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), if those funds “prevent certain States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” The vote saw more support from Democrats than from Republicans as 170 Democrats and 49 Republicans voted yes, while 17 Democrats and 172 Republicans voted no on the amendment. New Jersey’s representatives voted as follows:
Democrats – Holt, Y; Pallone, Y; Pascrell, Y; Payne, Y; Sires, Y.
Republicans – Frelinghuysen, N; Garrett, Y; Lance, N; LoBiondo, Y; Runyan, Y; Smith, N.
Now the measure must go to the U.S. Senate. While the Senate is controlled by Democrats, no measure to protect medical marijuana patients or programs has yet been introduced in the Senate. If and when the measure passes in the Senate, it will have to be signed into law by President Obama.
For more information, see: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/113-2014/h258
Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director, Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618 www.cmmnj.org firstname.lastname@example.org 609.394.2137
Jay Lassiter, Lassiter Consulting, http://www.jlassiter.com/ Cell - 856.236.7199