US House Votes to Respect States’ Medical Marijuana and Hemp Legalization

An appropriations bill passed Friday in the United States House of Representatives and on its way to the US Senate contains provisions calling for the United States government to stop treading on states’ efforts to legalize medical marijuana and industrial hemp.

The majority of House members voted on Friday to respect states’ legalization of medical marijuana and hemp in two amendments to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (HR 4660). First, the House approved by a vote of 237 to 170 an amendment introduced by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) regarding industrial hemp. Immediately following the hemp amendment vote, the House approved by a vote of 219 to 189 a similar amendment concerning medical marijuana introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

Because of House amendment rules, the wording of the amendments could not state as clearly as could stand-alone legislation that the US government is prohibited in a state from enforcing US laws that prohibit or punish activities related to medical marijuana and hemp that are in compliance with the state’s law. Yet, the debate in the House on both amendments reflected the understanding that such a message is being conveyed in the amendments. The amendments may be read below.

Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Paul Broun (R-GA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Don Young (R-AK) cosponsored the medical marijuana amendment.

Reps. Blumenauer, Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Polis cosponsored the hemp amendment.

While each of the amendments had bipartisan sponsorship, the votes of the full House membership revealed a large partisan division. Over 90% of voting Democrat members voted “yes” on each of the two amendments. Of the Republican members who voted on the amendments, by contrast, only 22% and 30%, respectively, voted “yes” on the medical marijuana and hemp amendments.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

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