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Congressional Spending Bill Blocks DEA Medical Marijuana Raids

marijuana reform bill legislature session legislative billsWhat a wild day yesterday. As I was sitting in my cubicle reading tweets earlier in the day, it seemed that Washington D.C.’s  marijuana legalization bill was going to be entirely scrapped in a backdoor deal between Democrats and Republicans. As the day progressed, it appeared that possession and cultivation of marijuana in D.C. would move forward, but that Congress wouldn’t approve marijuana sales. Ultimately, the language that was agreed upon in the spending bill that will determine D.C.’s legalization implementation was somewhat vague. Some belief there’s wiggle room to implement legalization in some fashion, others don’t. There will no doubt be a battle over implementation, as there was with medical marijuana in D.C., so activists need to keep the pressure on as much as possible.

Something that was included in the spending bill’s language was a ban on using funds for federal medical marijuana raids and hemp enforcement. Those provisions brought praise from Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority, who sent me the following message:

“Congressional leaders seem to have finally gotten the message that a supermajority of Americans wants states to be able to implement sensible marijuana reforms without federal interference. This legislation greatly reduces the chances that costly and senseless DEA raids will come between seriously ill patients and the doctor-recommended medicine they need for relief. Now that Congress has created political space by taking this important legislative step, there are no remaining excuses for the Obama administration not to exercise its executive power to reschedule marijuana immediately. The attorney general can begin that process today with the stroke of a pen.”

Below is the actual language regarding hemp and medical marijuana from the spending bill, also provided by the Marijuana Majority:

“Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

“Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.”

“Section 538 prohibits the Department of Justice from preventing certain States from implementing State laws regarding the use of medical marijuana.”

“Section 539 prohibits the use of funds by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration in contravention of a certain section of the Agricultural Act of 2014.”

Yesterday was a bitter sweet day. Medical marijuana aids were de-funded, but Washington D.C.’s marijuana legalization is in limbo. Please contact your members of Congress and tell them to respect the will of D.C. voters. Tell them that vague language is far from good enough – we need full assurances that D.C. residents will be allowed to possess, cultivate, and gift marijuana as Initiative 71 outlined. Or even better – approve taxing and sales of marijuana.

  • Concerned Texan

    Do I read this correctly that federal funds still can be used for raids in any of the unmentioned states, like Texas?

    Also I assume in the second sentence of the last paragraph you mean raids?

    • David

      If a state is not on the list I’m afraid it’s sorry Charlie. It wouldn’t matter in Texas anyway. Wouldn’t Governor “Good Hair” veto any cannabis legislation or initiatives (if these are allowed) ?

      • lovelydestruction

        No voter initiatives. We have to await evolution to higher life forms in government. Wait…evolution doesn’t happen in Texas…we’re screwed

    • Johnny oneye

      Dont forget this! Since when are federal funds used on raids?
      They are Jackbooting all they need and more
      That will increase

  • TOPDOG1

    RENEGADE LAW ENFORCEMENT ON AN ILL FATED AND MISGUIDED CRUSADE.

    Who are these people that set themselves up like some Micro-Gods demanding absolute blind obedience and offering only total subjugation, deciding what is good for everyone. I object. The D.E.A. are a group of evil authoritarian sociopaths., Completely out of control and way over the top. It is time for this group’s evil grip to be released from every free thinking person on this planet. At the very least, America’s asinine drug policy’s should be held in check at the U.S. border. The world is fed up with these drug laws and especially the enforcement methods used to criminalize and subjugate everyone.This evil group of authoritarian sociopaths are not content with enforcing law they are using corrupt puppet judges along with corrupt puppet prosecutors and corrupt puppet politicians in making up their own laws as they go. I stand in objection. Please help to resist these evil people. Not just the D.E.A. but other state law enforcement agency’s. Please urge our elected officials to cut this asinine drug funding.. They are also commandeering and miss-appropriating the lions share of grant funding to further their own evil plans. This grant funding was meant for the benefit and well being of the U.S. citizens. These greedy thieves are trying to take it all. They are also now beginning to extort billions from corporations and private citizens. We all had enough of these sociopaths You do not need the D.E.A. I do not need the D.E.A. We don’t need the D.E.A. Nobody needs the D.E.A. It was a bad idea to start with and has only gotten worse.. THIS MISAPPROPRIATION AND COMMANDEERING OF PUBLIC GRANT FUNDING MUST STOP. These greedy Authoritarians are trying to take it all.

    • The swindle is “Our version of fascism is better than their version”. And all we get is more fascism.

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  • My theory is that the court case rescheduling cannabis will allow all the State taxes (and a Federal tax too) to go into effect because cannabis will no longer be a Federal crime. See the Supreme Court decision in Leary.

    High taxes will keep the black market in place.

    The Congress is just preparing for the decision.

  • Taxing cannabis at any level above tomatoes will get people killed. Eric Garner.

  • BTW the DEA raids on untaxed cannabis will continue.

    We won’t be safe until cannabis is taxed like tomatoes.

  • kycountry

    one little step at a time is getting us there, and the steps are getting bigger and faster…..

  • michiganman

    This situation is the epitome of the saying: the 900 lb gorilla in the room. There sits congress trying their best to ignore legalization but it’s staring them right in the face in their own backyard. It must be very uncomfortable and well it should be…do the right thing representitards the whole country is watching…..

    • David

      The American public is traditionally way ahead of Congress regarding social policy.

  • psi2u2

    Great article. “Some belief” should be “some believe.”

  • Johnny oneye

    History could be made here
    Not soon enough!
    J Polis and friends must be thanked for nonstop pressure on the machine.
    He wore them thun!

  • xxxxMRBOBxxxx

    Did they make marijuana legal?No.The raids will continue.Believe me,this changes absolutely nothing.Making it legal at the federal level is the only thing that matters.How hard is this to understand?