Capitol Hill

Numerous pieces of legislation are pending in Congress that would  protect users and businesses in legal states.

The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment

The first priority is ensuring that members of Congress re-authorize the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, sponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and former Rep. Sam Farr (who recently retired and has been replaced by Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer as the Democratic sponsor). First enacted on Capitol Hill in 2014, this budgetary amendment ensures that no federal funds may be spent for the purpose of preventing states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

However, because the measure explicitly impacts the federal budget, but doesn’t permanently change federal marijuana laws, politicians must re-approve the language annually in order to keep its provisions in effect. The 2016 version of the amendment (which was grated a three-month extension) is set to expire on April 28, 2017.

Contact your Congressional lawmakers in support of this bill here

The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act

Congressional lawmakers are also pushing multiple measures to amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Most significantly, a coalition of seven Republicans and six Democrats have introduced House Bill 975, “the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017,” to prevent the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals or businesses engaged in state-sanctioned activities specific to the possession, use, production, and distribution of marijuana. The measure amends the CSA to read, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration or delivery of marihuana.”

Passage of HB 975 would halt federal officials from prosecuting individuals and businesses for violations of federal law in the 29 states that permit either medical or adult use and distribution of marijuana. According to national polling, 71% of voters, including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans, believe that state officials—not the federal government—ought to be the ultimate arbiters of marijuana policy.

Contact your Congressional lawmakers in support of this bill here

The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017

On Feb. 27, Reps. Tom Garrett (R–VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D–HI) re-introduced “the Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017,” which excludes the cannabis plant from the federal Controlled Substances Act. Like the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, this measure would also ensure that states with the power to set their own marijuana policies free from undue federal interference. The act was original sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–VT)  and introduced in the Senate last year. This is the first time the bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

Contact your Congressional lawmakers in support of this bill here

House Bill 331

Passage of HB 331, introduced by California Democrat Barbara Lee and five co-sponsors, would “amend the Controlled Substances Act… to exempt real property from civil forfeiture due to medical marijuana-related conduct that is authorized by state law.” This change would be significant, since previous administrations, including the Obama administration, have tried to close some of the nation’s most prominent state-authorized dispensaries like California’s Berkeley Patients Group and Harborside Health Center by initiating civil forfeiture proceedings. (Those two efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.) The extensive use of forfeiture proceedings, which in some cases permit the government to seize property without charging anyone with a crime, is also a favored tactic of Sessions.

Contact your Congressional lawmakers in support of this bill here

House Bill 715

Virginia Republican Morgan Griffith, along with co-sponsors Blumenauer and Garrett, have introduced HB 715, which seeks to remove the cannabis plant from Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act. Specifically, the measure “directs the Department of Health and Human Services to submit to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) a recommendation to transfer marijuana from Schedule I to another controlled substances schedule. The DEA must consider the recommendation and issue a final rule to reclassify marijuana.” The bill also amends federal law to exclude cannabidiol (CBD) from the definition of marijuana and to remove it from the CSA as well. The introduction of the bill comes just months after the DEA rejected a pair of petitions seeking to reschedule marijuana (see “DEAja Vu”).

Contact your congressional lawmakers in support of this bill here

Expeditious passage of these measures is needed in these uncertain political times. Recently, both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer have indicated that the federal government will step up federal enforcement in states with adult-use marijuana laws. Congressional approval of one or more of these measures would ensure protections for patients and recreational users from undue federal interference by the Justice Department, potentially end the state/federal marijuana conflict and keep the notoriously anti-pot Sessions at bay.

If you enjoyed this Freedom Leaf article, subscribe to the magazine today!

About Paul Armentano

Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and a Senior Policy Advisor at Freedom Leaf. He also serves on the faculty of Oaksterdam University. Mr. Armentano’s writing and research on marijuana policy have appeared in well over 750 publications, scholarly and/or peer-reviewed journals, as well as in more than two dozen textbooks and anthologies. He is the co-author of the book Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (2009, Chelsea Green), which has been licensed and translated internationally, and more recently, The Citizens’ Guide to State-by-State Marijuana Laws (Whitman Books, 2015). Mr. Armentano is the 2013 Freedom Law School Health Freedom Champion of the Year and the 2013 Alfred R. Lindesmith award recipient in the achievement in the field of scholarship.

Visit My Website
View All Posts
3 Comments
  1. Walter Swierczynski 6 months ago

    I’m a 67 year old Vietnam Vet, who started smoking “Can Sa” (Cannabis) during my 2nd tour in 1969. Once I began, my eyes started to open to the evil of my own government, and after I left the military, I started to see the evil of the world all around me. I then plunged into metaphysics, occult, new age, reading everything I could get my hands on. But a strange thing happened in my studies. A lot of those books had references to Bible Quotes, so I checked them out in a KJV and kept reading all through the 70’s. By 1979, I turned my life over to Yeshua, and have studied and prayed everyday even to today and have grown in changing my shortcomings little by little. But the one thing that never changed was my nightly use of Kaneh Bosm. I saw that God blessed all the seed bearing herbs, and later found out about the ingredients that were given to Moses for the Holy Oil. I have tried preaching this to all that had ears to listen, and now I’m starting to see people waking up to the truth.

  2. Tina 6 months ago

    My son has Crohns an Mans Medications wasn’t working. So i did my own research.. My Sons been in remissions for two years an can eat an gained weight.. Its safer than all the Pain pills out there. It would be safer for young adults to smoke marijuana than take pills.. From what Ive heard they snort,an shoot them up. Marijuana isnt a gate way drug… Man keeps saying that its a lie, just so you buy an keep money coming in for them..Man Made Drugs are the gate way drug!!! Look at the Overdose rate on pharmaceutical. Drugs AN ALCOHOL. MAN MADE AN APPROVED.. Now look at Overdose on Marijuana… Except from SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA MAN MADE WITH ALL THE CHEMICALS. . YES THEY SAY ITS CAUSED A FEW DEATHS. But MAN MADE .. It should be our choice on the things an medication we put in our body’s. .. GOD PUT IT HERE IT NEEDS THREE THINGS SOIL, WATER AN LIGHT ALL NATURAL AN GOD PROVIDES ALL OF THEM…

    • Mike H. 4 months ago

      I couldn’t agree more with everything you just said. Big pharmaceutical companies just want to keep people on their drugs. A patient cured as revenue lost. Really glad your son is doing well best of luck to both of you.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

CONTACT US

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending

©2017 Freedom Leaf, Inc. The Good News in Marijuana Reform | All Rights Reserved

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account