Contact: Darby Beck For Immediate Release:
firstname.lastname@example.org December 10, 2014
CONGRESS ACTS TO PROTECT MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Spending Bill Defunds Department of Justice Operations Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws
Future of Initiative 71 in DC Remains Unclear
Washington DC–In a stunning victory for medical marijuana advocates, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have included provisions in the omnibus spending bill prohibiting the Department of Justice from using federal funds to interfere with state-legal medical marijuana operations and protecting hemp cultivation for academic and research purposes. Opinions are mixed on what effect the bill might have on the implementation of DC’s Initiative 71, however, which would legalize the adult possession of small amounts of marijuana in the District. Some believe if the bill passes the initiative will remain in place, decriminalizing use but preventing the DC Council from regulating sales, while others think it could overturn the initiative entirely. Congress is set to vote on the bill later this week.
“This is a great day for patients and for public safety,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “Congress has finally listened to the vast majority of Americans who believe the federal government has no right to interfere in the personal decision to use medical marijuana made by a patient in consultation with his or her doctor. Law enforcement never should have been a part of that decision and if this amendment passes, they no longer will.”
The medical marijuana provision was adopted from a bipartisan amendment sponsored by Dana Rohrabacher (R, CA) that passed the House in May 219-189. A similar amendment was proposed in the Senate by Senators Rand Paul (R, KY) and Senator Cory Booker (D, NJ) but never received a vote. If passed, it will impact the ability of the DEA to enforce federal laws in the 23 states and DC where medical marijuana is legal and reduce the use of asset forfeiture laws that allow law enforcement to seize assets without ever charging a person with a crime.
The bill now goes to the full Senate and House for approval, then to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a 501(c)3 nonprofit group of law enforcement officials who want to end the war on drugs.