Senate Appropriations Committee Votes to Renew Protections for Medical Marijuana

Jul 27, 2017 , , , ,

On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) approved an amendment in a voice vote that would continue to protect state medical marijuana programs from federal interference.

The amendment, introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), would add a clause to the CJS budget for Fiscal Year 2018 that prevents the Dept. of Justice from using resources to prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers that are in compliance with state law. A similar amendment was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

In 2014, Congress added a similar amendment to an omnibus spending bill that prevented the Dept. of Justice from spending any resources to target state-legal medical marijuana businesses. This amendment was subsequently renewed, but now stands to expire.

If the CJS budget is approved in the Senate, the amendment will go to a special conference committee to reach a compromise with the House. If no budget is approved by September 30, the previous amendment will be automatically renewed for another year.

MPP’s Don Murphy made the following statement:

“More than half the states have taken a stand and said they want their seriously ill residents to have safe and reliable access to medical marijuana, and today the Senate Appropriations Committee listened. What was expected to be a very successful vote passed on an overwhelming voice vote, while opposition to the Leahy amendment was literally a whimper. That sound we heard in the Senate was the sound of a waving white flag as the federal war on medical marijuana patients and providers winds down.”

14 responses to “Senate Appropriations Committee Votes to Renew Protections for Medical Marijuana”

  1. We need medical marijuana in Virginia. We need it everywhere. Let’s face it, it’s long overdue, legalization everywhere. Every state should follow Colorado ‘s lead.

  2. With this step looking like it will be successful, the next is to look at pricing for the ill who’ve become too poor due to their illness-related expenses and no longer working. To be able to afford the high prices of medical cannabis, one would have to have a decent income and that becomes the hypocrisy within the legalized world of cannabis. They’re here to help those that can afford the help, but not to those who cannot. Our federal government through social security helps the lowest income earners with “special help” for their pharmaceuticals, but nothing has been developed to help those who would prefer to medicate with non-addictive herbs rather than fully addictive opioids! It is time to remove cannabis from a schedule one drug with no medical benefits to being completely removed from the list altogether so that cannabis can be available to who need it without having to be classified the same as the recreational user. Let’s really make this a treatment that will be available to all no matter their incomes! Don’t be cruel to the poor when many worked their entire lives but became ill through no fault of their own. My multiple sclerosis took me down before I turned 51 and I am grateful for the work I did do for many years that enabled me to even collect SSDI. Think long and hard about how to move forward, and letting those who are financially worse maintain some dignity as well, please!

    • In due time. Canada has advanced their medical cannabis program to the level that they reimburse military vets for their medical marijuana. This would be wonderful if here and allowing low income patients on SS and SSDI to have flex-fee on card and medicine based on income.

  3. Thank you for unanimously voting to protect medical marijuana patients in the budget! I encourage you to make this protection permanent in the final budget. Thank you

  4. Medical marijuana is a Miracle Drug and has helped thousands of people get through their pain when other medicines didn’t work! I think Attorney General Jeff Sessions is 100% wrong in going after Medical Marijuana – He has to be uneducated in how it is helping people with constant pain. HE HAS AN OLD FASHIONED IDEA OF KIDS SMOKING POT AND GETTING HIGH – I hope and pray President Trump fires Jeff Sessions before he destroys the lives of many people by making it a crime to have medical Cannabis. Jeff Sessions is out to make everyone who uses Medical Cannabis a criminal We need to get this wonderful drug out of the Federal governments hands so Jeff Sessions can’t make it a crime to use it to stop pain. In order to even get approved for Medical Cannabis – you have to go through so many hoops and have so much paperwork showing you have tried every other medicine and none of it works -Little children with Palsy, Veterans with PTSD – thousands of people with pains that strong medicines don’t help but do kill your liver! It is not like you can go into a drug store and just buy it – It is only the people who really need it and are desperate to stop their pain that are going to be hurt if Attorney General Jeff Sessions gets his way and makes it a crime to use Medical Marijuana – i hope Congress will do all in their power to make this drug available to the people who need it and get it out of the Federal Governments hands. This Senate Committee is doing a wonderful job and I hope they continue to keep Medical Marijuana available and let access to it spread to all states and not just the few who can actually get physicians to stick their necks out and approve it while under the watchful eye of the Federal Government – namely Jeff Sessions.

  5. Thank God for one piece of reasonable news out of Washington. Now bomb NOKO out of existence, let cannabis cafe’s start up all over, think Starbuck’s, and a big sack of good bud, I’ll be a happy senior citizen.

  6. did not hold ou 1 iota of hope for this legislation due to my overly cynical and sarcastic views of our elected officials , also forgot many are of my boomer gen. and may have illicitly tried some Good stuff. so glad I was wrong. By the time my backwater state WISCONSIN GETS around to it I will have had my opioid scrips legislated out of existence and I will revert back to that legal recourse of so many of WI finest. alcohol in ever greater quantities. Anywho to all
    don’t ever give in remember what happened to prohibition and listen for the sound of history

  7. AG Jeff Sessions is an old man with an old man’s mindset, plus he is stubborn and unteachable. he needs to be fired. He also is in favor of increased civil forfeiture laws, which are an abomination and provide a means and large incentive for police to plant evidence. Not good. Sessions needs to go. (BTW, although I’m over 60 yrs old and had cancer TWICE, I’ve never had marijuana…..yet. But it should be 100% legal, even for recreational use.

  8. Its coming medical first for most states especially here in the southeast where everyone wants to retire or live the winters are mild the summers are gorgeous and the real estate values will bounce once patients at first can access what Nixon took away. Georgia is making great medical progress FL is medical to a extent and Louisiana is making progress Arkansas is medical NC,SC,are next SC has a jump on medical but NC could catch up in a hurry medical should have always been there if the states want extra cash tax it like cigarettes and booze.

  9. I believe Republican party is getting ready to undo what we the people did not know how medical a pain relief and nausea from cancer treatments and depression,anxiety,asthma. Yes cannabis is a bronchial dialator and leave the dangers of alcohol abuse which is available to make you so drunk you think you can drive when you should not. Cannabis can be treated the same if someone is so blazed that they think they can drive at least they will not be drunk as a skunk on booze. Opiod use and dosage will be able to be lowered in some cases and the leaf and high THC can beat back the pain that so many suffer from.

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