The U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to prevent the federal government from interfering with state laws regulating marijuana for all purposes, including adult use.
"Today's vote is the most significant step Congress has ever taken toward ending federal marijuana prohibition."
- Steven Hawkins, MPP Executive Director
Yesterday in the U.S. House of Representatives, an extraordinary milestone was achieved when the body approved a measure by a 267-165 vote to prevent the Department of Justice from using funds to interfere with the implementation of state laws that have legalized marijuana for adults. Since 2014, Congress has renewed a provision that prevented federal interference in states' medical marijuana programs, but this goes further and includes adult-use legalization, too.
The significance of this development cannot be overstated. As MPP Executive Director Steve Hawkins put it this vote means "Congress is recognizing that the federal government must let the states decide on cannabis legalization — and not the other way around." But this win was only made possible with your support.
Please help MPP continue to achieve victories like this by making a contribution to the effort today.
The bipartisan amendment, offered by Reps. Tom McClintock (R-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) to the House version of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, prohibits the Justice Department, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, from using funds to interfere in the implementation of state laws that allow the use, possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana. The measure is broader than previous amendments, which applied only to medical marijuana laws.
We should all take a moment to savor this seminal achievement and to appreciate how far we've come as a movement. But we can't afford to rest on our laurels, to count on momentum alone to drive future progress, or to assume others will step up to support ending marijuana prohibition nationwide.
Your gift of support today is critical to ensure that MPP has the resources it needs to keep on fighting and winning. Click here to donate now.
The Senate is expected to take up companion legislation in the coming weeks, and it's going to take all the efforts of MPP's policy experts, allies, and coalition partners to push this bill forward. Most importantly, strong and active support from people like you, who know firsthand the injustice and illogic of marijuana prohibition, will be key to moving this legislation across the finish line.
Thank you for all you've done to help us get this far. The MPP mission to end marijuana prohibition has never been so close to being realized, and with your support, we will make that vision a reality.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week on combating the opioid epidemic, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin made a comment that is a perfect example of the kind of entrenched ignorance that MPP has been battling for nearly 25 years. Referring to his home state of Illinois, which only days ago passed a landmark, MPP-backed bill to legalize cannabis for adult use, Sen. Durbin remarked that:
"We've had medical marijuana. I've been to one of those clinics. It was almost a laughing matter."
Really, Senator? Ready access to life-changing medical treatments is basically a joke to you?
- It's not a joke for parents who have to drive across state lines, risking their livelihood and their freedom, in order to procure the only medicine available that can successfully treat their child's multiple sclerosis symptoms — just because their state is run by people who share your outdated perspective on medical marijuana.
- It's not a joke to the veterans suffering from severe PTSD who can't get a prescription at their local VA hospital because the federal government inserts its prohibitionist restrictions between them and their physicians.
- And it's certainly no joke to the greater than 10 million people located in prohibition states who are suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, debilitating arthritis, anorexia, cerebral palsy, chronic pain, or the numerous other afflictions for which medical marijuana is an effective treatment.
To them, and to us, medical marijuana is no laughing matter at all. With your contribution today, we can continue to fight for life-saving access for medical cannabis patients.
Please help us send Senator Durbin a clear message that it's past time for attitudes like his to evolve, that the harm caused by failed prohibitionist policies is both ongoing and urgent, and that he should use his national profile to shine a light on the problem — not to belittle the issue.
Thank you for standing up for medical cannabis patients. Together we can overcome the ignorance and misinformation — and ensure a brighter future for those who are still being denied safe access to the medicine they need.
Earlier today, Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced bipartisan legislation to end the federal government’s war on marijuana and protect states’ rights to enact their own marijuana policies.
The STATES Act is the most significant piece of marijuana-related legislation ever introduced in Congress. With its bipartisan backing in the Senate, it symbolically signals the eventual end of marijuana prohibition at the federal level.
This legislation reflects the position the president took on marijuana policy during his campaign, and it comes shortly on the heels of the positive comments he made to Sen. Gardner. The president has a unique opportunity to get behind historic legislation that enjoys solid support on both sides of the political spectrum. Read more about the bill.
Members of both parties agree it’s time for the federal government to let states set their own policies for marijuana. Please ask your lawmakers to back this important legislation.