It was truly “Weed Wednesday” on Capitol Hill yesterday as the House of Representatives passed multiple marijuana-related amendments. At the top of the list was the reauthorization of the amendment that will protect medical marijuana operations from federal interference in legal states .
According to The Huffington Post, the amendment from Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.) passed 242 to 186. It blocks the Justice Department, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, from using funds to go after state-legal medical marijuana programs.
Prior to its passage, Rohrabacher said, “Our founding fathers didn’t want criminal justice to be handled by the federal government. This is absolutely absurd that the federal government is going to mandate all these things even though the people of the states and many doctors would like to have the right to prescribe to their patients what they think will alleviate their suffering. This is states’ rights issue. Our founding fathers didn’t want a police force that can bust down people’s doors. They wanted individual freedom.”
An amendment from Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) would have extended protections to states that have legalized marijuana for all purposes, but that amendment failed by a vote of 206 to 222. If it had passed, it would have stopped the federal government from interfering with businesses that are in compliance with their state marijuana laws.
A medical marijuana amendment from Rep. Scott Perry (R-Penn.) passed 297 to 130. This specific proposal would protect states that have legalized the limited use of refined marijuana oils for medicinal use.
Hemp also claimed a victory, as the House voted to extend protections to industrial hemp by a vote of 282 to 146. The amendment by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) would keep the DEA from getting in the way of state-legal hemp programs. According to the HuffPost article, the farm bill that President Barack Obama signed into law in 2014 legalized industrial hemp production for research purposes in states that permit it.