Press Release

U.S. House Narrowly Defeats Amendment to Block DEA Interference In All State Marijuana Laws

Jun 03, 2015

The House approved a similar amendment that applies only to state laws allowing the cultivation and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes
* Statement below from Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project *

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly defeated a measure 206-222 on Wednesday that was intended to prevent the federal government from interfering with state laws regulating marijuana for all purposes, including adult use.

The amendment, offered by Reps. Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) to the House version of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, would have prohibited the Justice Department, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, from using funds to interfere in the implementation of state laws that allow the cultivation, distribution, and use of marijuana.

Earlier, the House approved a similar amendment that applies only to state medical marijuana laws, which was offered by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA). It has been offered in the House eight times since 2003, and the first time it passed was last year by a vote of 219-189. It was codified in the so-called “CRomnibus” funding bill in December, and it is expected to be included in the final spending law again this year.

The House also passed three amendments, sponsored by Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Joaquin Castro (D-TX), respectively, which redirected a combined total of $23 million away from the DEA and toward analyzing rape kits, helping victims of child and domestic abuse, and purchasing body cameras for police officers.

Statement from Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project:

“Today’s vote is the most significant step Congress has ever taken toward ending federal marijuana prohibition. This is the first time this amendment has been offered, and it received an impressive amount of support. It’s not really a question of whether this measure will pass; it’s a question of when it will pass.

“Most Americans think marijuana should be legal for adults. With more and more states adopting their own marijuana policies, the tension between state and federal laws needs to be addressed. Just about every candidate for president has said states should be free to determine their own marijuana policies. It is time for Congress to get serious about addressing this problem and repeal federal prohibition so that states can regulate marijuana as they see fit.”