Senate Vote Reaffirms Congressional Support to End of Federal Interference In State-Level Medical Marijuana Programs – June 11, 2015
Washington, DC– Earlier today the United States Senate Appropriations Committee voted for the Mikulski medical cannabis (marijuana) amendment to the Commerce, Science, and Justice (CJS) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2015 by a margin of 20-10. Senator Barbara Mikulski ‘s (D-MD) amendment to the CJS appropriations bill mirrors the legislative language of the recently passed Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment to the House of Representative CJS bill. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment bans the Department of Justice from spending money to prevent the implementation of state-level medical cannabis programs, removing funding for federal medical cannabis raids, arrests and prosecutions in states where medical cannabis is legal. The Mikulski amendment passed with the bipartisan support of 13 Democrats and 7 Republicans. Today’s vote marks the first time the Senate has voted on state-level medical cannabis programs.
“The success of the Mikulski medical cannabis amendment shows a growing acknowledgement that the federal government should not interfere with state medical cannabis programs,” said Steph Sherer Americans for Safe Access Executive Director. “The passage of the Mikulski medical cannabis amendment also shows that Senate support exists for the central elements of the CARERS Act. The CARERS Act would make the protections in Mikulski medical cannabis amendment permanent and create a much needed framework for research and federal and state cooperation.”
Last week the House of Representatives passed the Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment by a margin of 242 to 186 with a strong bipartisan show of support for the second year in a row. Last year under the leadership of Senator Mikulski the Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment remained in the CRomnibus bill that President Obama signed into law. With the addition of seven states in the last year the Mikulski and Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendments now cover 39 states and protects access to medical cannabis programs for 275 million citizens in those states.
“Today the Senate is joining the House of Representatives and recognizing the only responsible course of action is for the federal government to leave state medical cannabis programs alone and let them provide their citizens with this much needed medical option,” said Mike Liszewski Americans for Safe Access Government Affairs Director. “Along the recent vote to end the gag order on VA doctors recommending medical cannabis we’re seeing undeniable Senate support for the policy changes in the CARERS act.”