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Obama Signs Federal Spending Bill Protecting State Medical Marijuana Programs


obama medical marijuana enforcementBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

President Barack Obama signed spending legislation into law on Tuesday that includes provisions limiting the Justice Department’s ability to take criminal action against state-licensed individuals or operations that are acting are in full compliance with the medical marijuana laws of their states.

Specifically, an amendment sponsored by California Reps. Dana Rohrbacher and Sam Farr to the $1.1 trillion spending bill states, “None of the funds made available in this act to the Department of Justice may be used … to prevent … states … from implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

Said Farr following Congress’ passage of the legislation: “The federal government will finally respect the decisions made by the majority of states that passed medical marijuana laws. This is great day for common sense because now our federal dollars will be spent more wisely on prosecuting criminals and not sick patients.”

Similar language prohibiting the Justice Department from undermining state-sanctioned hemp cultivation programs was also included in the bill.

Also contained in the appropriations measure is a rider sponsored by Maryland Republican Andy Harris that seeks to limit DC officials’ ability to fully implement a November 2014 municipal initiative depenalizing the personal adult possession and cultivation of cannabis. At this time however, it remains unclear whether the enacted language is written in a manner that can actually do so. On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson “plans to ignore the provision” and that he will “send a bill implementing Initiative 71 to Congress in January for a 30-day review, during which federal lawmakers can veto it or let it stand.” Such a review is necessary before any DC initiative can become law.

Washington DC’s Initiative 71, which was approved by 70 percent of District voters, removes criminal and civil penalties regarding the adult possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to six plants.

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Johnny Green


  1. The problem is, although they will not interfere it is still not catagotaized as medicine and the average person can still lose their job over the use of it even if they’re being responsible.

  2. Because I, like many others I know, hope that he waits until one minute before his presidency ends. To all those Obama hater’s. Paybacks a bitch.

  3. I was in California in Late October 2010 and saw how this act by the Governor changed public opinion more than all of the millions of dollars spent on negative anti-legalization advertising.

  4. I heard on another website that fed raids can still continue. It won’t be long before the raids are completely erased. I am really wanting January to get here so I can see the new laws that were being worked on. This is shaping to be another big year.

  5. Why would it not be implemented? It’s a government funding bill, warts, whiskers and all. There are no political advantages at this juncture to stop the President from signing the bill. I commend Senator Warren’s stand against Wall Street crooks and the protections afforded them being placed into this funding bill. However, she was unable to stop this pig on roller-skates from reaching it’s goal. It’s a done deal.

  6. I took a late October 2010 trip aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach. I really enjoyed the ship..Unfortunately, all of the Queen Mary’s restaurants, including the ships water supply were subsequently shut down by the City of Long Beach the day after my arrival as a precaution due to an oil spill which occurred in Long Beach harbor. I remember watching LA area television stations air so many freakin anti-legalization advertisements. At the time I estimated the anti’s ad’s were running at a ratio of approx.three to one, against pro-legalization advertisements.. Big money negative ad’s from outside groups completely dominated California pro-legalization groups ability to get messaging out to compete, particularity as so much advertisement air time had been purchased, in huge blocks in advance, squelching the opposing sides ability to achieve any level of messaging parity even had the the funds available to outside groups been available to the pro-legalization side.. I agree Gov. Schwarzenegger ‘s decriminalization act appeared to have defused many of the pro-legalization voters sense of urgency and thereby had a significant impact on voter opinion and turn-out. Decriminalization is not however legalization. This battle has yet to be fought in California. What occurred, apparently fulfilled many of California voter’s needs, just prior to the 2010 election. The Queen Mary compted my entire vacation, offered free meals in the many restaurants,. I later returned for a second successful trip. The Queen Mary is indeed awesome!

  7. Right about the time prop 215
    Was voted in by Cal voters
    Swarztinager decriminalize 28 grams of cannabis
    “Not a crime”

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