U.S.: Congressman Rohrabacher Applauds Senate Panel for Adopting Cannabis Amendment

Capitol Hill Cannabis

The amendment passed despite a letter Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent in May asking House and Senate leadership not to block DOJ from using funds to enforce federal cannabis laws

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Senate Committee on Appropriations on Thursday adopted an amendment, commonly known as “Rohrabacher-Farr,” that prohibits the Department of Justice from using appropriated funds to prosecute those in compliance with their state’s medical cannabis laws.

Rep. Sam Farr, D-CA, who co-sponsored the amendment when it first passed in 2014, retired from Congress last year. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, stepped in as the lead House Democrat pushing the provision.

Offered by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT, the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the provision amends the Senate’s version of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for the fiscal year 2018. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.

Rep. Rohrabacher said, “I applaud Senator Leahy’s efforts to ensure the continued protection of patients who use marijuana for medicinal purposes in accordance with their state’s laws. After pushing this amendment for well over a decade, I am encouraged to see the consistent and growing support for this approach. It is just not right to prosecute individuals who are acting within the bounds of their state’s medical marijuana laws, especially considering that the overwhelming majority of Americans throughout the states disapprove of their tax dollars being spent this way.”

When asked if he’s expecting a fight on the floor, where he’ll be forced to offer the amendment, Rohrabacher said he hopes there isn’t one “but if there is, clearly we will win.”

Since the appropriations rider must be renewed regularly, Rohrabacher has introduced the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017 (H.R. 975), which aims to extend the protections to recreational states and make the protections permanent in nature by amending the Controlled Substances Act directly. The legislation would make state-legal marijuana activity legal under federal law.

The bill currently enjoys the broad bipartisan support of 12 Republican and 12 Democratic co-sponsors.

Photo Source: Freedom Leaf