June 3, 2015
WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives today voted 242-186 to approve a provision authored by Reps. Sam Farr, D-Calif., and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., that protects medical marijuana patients and providers from federal prosecution. The amendment to the FY 2016 Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill prohibits the federal government from using any funds to arrest or prosecute medical marijuana patients or providers that are in a compliance with their state’s laws.
“The majority of the states have said they want medical marijuana patients to have access to the medicine they need without fear of prosecution,” said Rep. Farr. “For the second year in a row, the people’s house has listened to the will of the people and voted to give them that access.”
“This impressive vote,” said Rep. Rohrabacher, “is deeply gratifying. It shows the people’s representatives really can reflect the overwhelming sentiment of Americans to do the right thing. Too many patients, for too long, have suffered under a regime that encourages doctors to prescribe opiates rather than the cannabinoids they deem much safer and more effective. It’s the federal government and out-of-control Justice Department enforcers who have acted as the real gateway drug. The good news is that the House of Representatives just took away that deadly connection.”
Last year, the House passed a similar measure authored by Reps. Farr and Rohrabacher in the FY 2015 CJS appropriations bill. The amendment was eventually included in the omnibus spending bill that passed the House and Senate and was signed into law.
Despite Congress’s clear intent in passing the amendment, the Department of Justice did not stop prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers. In April, Reps. Farr and Rohrabacher sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder
to inform him that using any funds to go after medical marijuana patients and providers is a violation of federal law. The Department of Justice has yet to respond to the letter.
“The House voted for the second year to end the federal prosecution of medical marijuana patients,” said Rep. Farr. “With a clear voice we have once again said to the DOJ: Stop wasting our tax dollars attacking patients. Let’s spend those funds more wisely going after real criminals and not sick people.”
“With more support than ever before, today’s passage of the Rohrabacher-Farr medical marijuana amendment is a monumental victory in a revolution underway across America to reform and modernize our marijuana laws,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., an original cosponsor of the amendment. “Well over 200 million Americans have access to legal medical marijuana, and at least one million people use it in accordance with state laws. Removing the threat of interference from the lives of patients, businesses and doctors in the 41 jurisdictions that have approved medical marijuana is the right thing to do.”
The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment was cosponsored by Reps. Blumenauer, Reid Ribble, R-Wis., Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Thomas Massie, R-Ky., Joe Heck, R-Nev., Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., Don Young, R-Alaska, Jared Polis, D-Colo., Tom McClintock, R-Calif., Dina Titus, D-Nev.