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Senator Rand Paul Files Medical Marijuana Amendment


marijuana reform bill legislature session legislative billsBy Phillip Smith

US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) today filed an amendment to Senate Bill 2569, the “Bring Jobs Home Act,” that would explicitly allow states to pass medical marijuana laws despite the provisions of the federal Controlled Substances Act. The amendment would also bar prosecutions of patients and doctors for engaging in medical marijuana activities in states where it is legal.

The amendment, No. 3630, is not yet available on the congressional web site, but a copy has been made available to the Chronicle.

“Notwithstanding section 708 of the Controlled Substances Act or any provisions of law (including regulations), a State may enact and implement a law that authorizes the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical use,” the amendment says.

“No prosecution may be commenced or maintained against any physician or patient for a violation of Federal law (including regulations) that prohibits the conduct described in subsection (b) [Ed.: The paragraph above.] if the State in which the violation occurred has in effect a law described in subsection (b) before, on, or after the date on which the violation occurred.”

The amendment then lists the 32 states and the District of Columbia that have laws allowing for the use of medical marijuana, including some that only allow for the use of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oils.

Senate Bill 2569 was introduced in the Senate earlier this month.

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Johnny Green


  1. It’s a lot less theoretically when there are statistics to back it up. And the duty of city cops to enforce state law is not much different from the duty of state cops or local cops to enforce federal law, at least in PA. Witness the difference between Pittsburgh and Philly; in the former possession results in a ticket and in the latter you are cuffed and dragged off to jail.

  2. I wasn’t talking about a “misunderstanding” when discussing public authorities, I was talking about gross incompetence.

    The actions of the Philly police chief aren’t relevant because he’s saying that he’s going to have his LEOs enforce State law. Until he actually has his people start doing it it’s just hot air.

    But sorry, I don’t do conspiracy theories.


  3. Our public schools have had plenty of problems, but private ones aren’t any better, according to test scores. They just take resources away from neighborhoods that have no other options. Should education be available only to those who can afford it? That would virtually insure our decline to second-world status.

  4. MrPC you are right about his position on immigration. I assumed he’d be more like his father on this issue. His position is definitely not libertarian. Nothing but private schools is of course a great idea; the public schools suck.

  5. Duncan I think your heart is too kind. You suggest “willful ignorance” as a possibility but seem to believe its just naivety that leads local law enforcement to believe that they must enforce federal laws. I would instead suggest that the DEA’s system of giving local government kickbacks in the form of grants and proceeds from asset forfeiture, is more likely the source of this “misunderstanding”. In other words, the DEA has basically used a fountain of money to undermine our police departments to the point that these policemen tend to be more responsive to the DEA than to the people whom they are sworn to serve. Witness the recent comments by Philadelphia Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, who in response to city council’s recent decriminalization of cannabis stated that his department was going to continue to arrest people for simple possession anyway. Like others in law enforcement, he just will not listen to the people who hired him.

  6. Of course the Feds first tried penalizing States for money which they were scheduled to receive (See State of South Dakota v Elizabeth Dole, 483 U.S. 203 (1987)). But even though the ruling was mostly a win for the Feds the figured out that it works a lot better to pay bonuses than to take money away from people. I don’t think a week passes when I don’t see how successful that strategy has been. 2 decades ago you very, very rarely saw any local level law enforcement speaking out in favor of the continuation

    I wonder Dusty, something that it took a long, long time for me to realize is that most people appear to believe that it’s part of the duties of State and local law enforcement to enforce Federal law. That’s what stimulates so many members of the Ignorati to comment, “so what if the State legalizes, it’s still against Federal law.”

    It really is just mind boggling how few Americans understand our system of dual sovereignty. For the everyman I can understand it. Had I not had a vested interest and the motivation to figure out the specific stupidity of cannabis prohibition, coupled with a few significant victories in business contract disputes which were a simple matter of actually reading the contract and understanding what it said I’d probably be blissfully ignorant of how our government is supposed to function under the law. What really bugs the heck out of me is when authorities do it. In every single case I’ve named above in the post to which you responded and Conant et al v Walters in the 2nd were all built on a gross misunderstanding, perhaps even willful ignorance) of our system. City of Garden Grove v Kha was bad enough, but State of Arizona v Okun was for all practical considerations identical to Kha. The Arizona authorities had the luxury of being able to read the Court’s opinion in Kha and had no valid reason to believe that they might get a different decision. They could have at least taken section 885(D) of the Federal Controlled Substances Act and not embarrassed themselves with the argument that police can’t return illegally seized illegally from recognized medicinal cannabis patients.

    Tip of the pin old man, it is a distinct pleasure to run into someone who has, at the very least a good working knowledge of how our system works. If your interested in some arcana I’d suggest that you take a look at the eviction proceedings against Harborside Health Center by their Oakland landlord. The Feds instigated those proceedings by threatening seizure of the property. The landlord lost in State Court because they said that the clause in the lease forbidding the tenant from breaking Federal law was unenforceable under California law. The landlord lost in Federal Court for lack of standing to bring the controversy to Federal Court. P.S. no appeals filed and no seizure. Losing both cases made the landlord an “innocent” party.

    The poor landlord, how in the world could he have predicted that Harborside would be the first tenant in the history of written leases to be painstakingly honest on their application?

  7. She’s also an opportunist and *very* smart. If she’s at risk of losing the ever-important moderate and independent votes to Rand Paul because of his stance on the failed drug war, expect her to turn whichever way the political winds are blowing.
    Frankly, the worst 2016 match-up (for cannabis law reform) would be Hillary Clinton running against Chris Christie. That would all but guarantee the drug war drags on for the duration of either candidate’s tenure in office, as neither one of them WANTS to make cannabis law reform a center-stage issue. Their respective campaigns would do like every presidential campaign has done, up to now, which is to either laugh off the issue, or simply ignore it, entirely.

  8. Great! A private army at the border, keeping “them” out, medical care only for the rich and nothing but private schools. I can hardly wait.

  9. I doubt he’s coming back. He insisted on trying to bait me into arguments that, had he actually tried to understand what I was telling him (that our representative democracy was never intended to be a two-party horse race, that picking a candidate makes more sense than voting by party), he would have realized his efforts to pick a political fight were completely moot.

    By the third day, I’d figured out all he wanted was the last word, but I’d also realized that he’d only want the last word *on his own terms* — so refusing to play by his rules, and yet refusing to stop playing his game was the easiest way of dealing with him. Seeing as how I knew his entire premise for attempting to bait me politically was fundamentally unnecessary, I felt precisely no guilt for continuously responding to each gish gallop he made without reading them, at all. It was incredibly effective because his “style” of cutting and pasting everything we said to him necessarily REQUIRED him to read every last word of every reply I sent, while I systematically ignored his replies, yet always responded to them. His strategy of irritating his opponent into submission doesn’t work if you don’t get irritated and you don’t submit — I absolutely guarantee he derived no pleasure from our exchange.

    In any case, I’ve said before that 2016 has all the makings to put the drug war into the election’s center ring, with federal cannabis law reform seriously on deck for the first time since — ever. Rand Paul is a genius for putting himself in such a starkly contrasting light, like this, when compared next to Chris Christie, who is totally unapologetic about his disgust for both cannabis and those who advocate for its medicinal or recreational uses. No one is going to care about “bridge-gate” in two years, but support for cannabis law reform is only going to gain momentum between now and then. If Christie doesn’t feel the change in the wind and get behind cannabis law reform, then he’s only making himself into a huge target (no pun intended) during the 2016 general election.

  10. The challenge a Christie campaign would face is this: everybody hates him because he’s a big fat bully.

  11. Whenever people cite the constitution’s preemption clause I always tell them to read a little further. The 10th Amendment reserves to the states (or the people!) any power not explicitly granted to Congress by the constitution. And one power that was definitely not given to Congress in the constitution was the power to dictate to the states what laws they must pass or what law enforcement activities they must engage in. Lawyers call it the “anti-commandeering principle of the Tenth Amendment” and it has been upheld repeatedly by the Supreme Court. Basically, Congress can pass laws but it does not have the authority to force states to enforce federal law. That is why there are so many federal police agencies, including the DEA. And that is also why the federal government needs to offer incentives to state and local governments to get them to toe the federal line. The handouts to local police departments by the DEA and the booty from asset forfeiture are some examples of the federal government using incentives to tempt state and local governments to do something that they cannot be required to do. Federal funding of schools is another example as that funding always comes with strings attached.

  12. I did see this one coming, and here’s why:1. The House of Representatives has voted several times for pro-cannabis legislation. On cannabis issues at least the division in the House is not Republicans versus Democrats but a coalition of libertarian-leaning Republicans plus most Democrats on one side versus the more conservative (and aging) wing of the Republican party on the other side.
    2. This division within the Republican party is not new but it’s worse now than ever.
    3. Rand Paul is probably the Senate’s most libertarian Republican. He is also actively defining himself for the American public in advance of a possible run for the presidency. He has teamed with Democrat Cory Booker in the past to further a state’s rights-based agenda on cannabis issues.
    4. People are sick and tired of losing the war on drugs and our elected officials are eventually going to hear us or they will face our wrath.

  13. He is extremely enlightened on those issues. You need to do better research. He is willing to get the government out of all those things.

  14. You won’t have to move to KY if Rand runs for President–and he is starting to position himself as the libertarian Republican candidate who will vie with the arch-conservative bully from NJ Chris Christie for the Republican nomination. Add that to the fact that Hillary Clinton looks increasingly likely to be the Democratic candidate and we may end up with a Republican who is more 420-friendly than the Democrat. Or Hillary could totally “evolve” her stance on cannabis. That would be the politically smart move and she always makes the politically smart move. I personally wouldn’t trust her to actually do anything once elected though.

  15. I always ask those who fear a “right wing” POTUS will take away our Country’s cannabis law reforms why George Bush the lesser didn’t do just that? Hint: he tried. See United States v Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative, 532 U.S. 483 (2001) and Conant et al v Walters, 309 F.3d 629 (9th Cir 2002). There’s also the ruling in Gonzalez v Angel Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005) but since it was Ms. Raich who filed that case initially it can’t be described as a GI folly.

    Don’t you understand that the Federal government is not a stand alone entity? It is the sum of its parts and those parts are almost exclusively States.

  16. OMG! LOOK OUT! WoWfad and stellarvoyager… didn’t we just go through this? Choom… I pray for you that the dude that jumped all over ME for saying what you just said doesn’t READ this! ;-)

  17. This is terrific news!
    Now let’s all contact our Senators and ask them to support it.

  18. The republican controlled House of Reps already passed the same measure. MANY conservatives want the government out of our business and support states rights over federal control. Bill of Rights is now more supported by conservatives than nanny state liberals. I remember the 60s when liberals wanted freedom, now more and more they want control over what you eat, say, and do.

  19. Yeah, I just bet YOU are “enlightened”. You are just one more liberal fool throwing stones.

  20. I like the guy , but he is a slimmy Republican. Can her be trusted ? Only the people that are really in charge know who the next president will be , way before it happens mark my words the truth will come out when the end is near.

  21. Some very good points. Although, I think if you asked the fed govt, they would say that they are the boss of the states… At least until Obama gave some of them a firm spanking, saying that the states would be boss of themselves hehe. For example, if Chris Chrisie manages to get elected, he would be happy to rule as a king, with an iron fist. Jail for everyone who disagrees, and states rights would be at extreme jeopardy. A violent overthrow or civil war would not be out of the question.

  22. concernedparentandtaxpayer on

    This is great news. I’ve contacted both of my Senators and my Rep.
    It’s time for all of us to start doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. None of us would want our kids put in jail over a little marijuana. None of us would want the police to confiscate and sell our parents’ home because they grew a couple of plants to help with the aches and pains of growing old. Let’s start treating other people the way we would want to be treated.

  23. Senator Rand Paul thank you. I normally do not vote republican ,but I also never vote for any Party. I always vote for the individual. If I ever move to Kentucky I will vote for you.
    All senators of any Party I dare you to do better. Legalize America .

  24. Hopefully the next election cycle we will see more republicans that want to be on the right side of history.

  25. Democrats control the senate. So, the fact that a Republican proposed this amendment, is huge. And don’t forget that the Republican controlled house of representatives passed this bill and forwarded it to the Senate. People need to call their Democrat senators and tell them to pass this.

    At this point in the game, this is even bigger than two states legalizing it. This bill, in my opinion, would force the DEA to reschedule cannabis. And this is equivalent to admitting that they were wrong about cannabis. HUGE! On a global scale.

  26. Tell me, do you think that all 50 States and DC are in direct opposition to the Federal government because not a single one criminalizes the evasion of Federal income tax?

    The issue has been litigated to death and the Feds just don’t have the power to dictate the State’s criminal code. In 17 years spanning 3 Presidential administrations centrists, right, and left and the only cases argued on the basis of Federal preemption have been prosecuted by State and/or local authorities. Every single one has been laughed out of the Courthouse.

    It’s genuinely astounding that there are people gazing at the horizon expecting the imminent arrival of the Federal cavalry riding in to strike down State laws that re-legalize cannabis. It’s even more astonishing when Californians do so after 17 years and 4 trips to the SCOTUS for the Compassionate Use Act (CUA) with that law still in force.

    The Feds have given their answer to I-502 and A-64…there’s nothing that they can do about those laws. Yes, the Feds can enforce their laws using their resources. But Californians have seen that first hand. The Feds haven’t been able to shut down the CUA and it’s pushing two decades now.

    City of Garden Grove v Felix Kha, 157 Cal. App. 4th 355; 68 Cal. Rptr. 3d 656 (2007)
    County of San Diego v San Diego NORML 165 Cal. App. 4th 798; 81 Cal. Rptr. 3d 461 (2008)
    State of Arizona v Valerie Okun, Case No. 1 CA-CV 12-0094 (AZ Ct. App., Div. 1, Jan. 10, 2013)
    …were all prosecuted using that theory, and none of the petitioners got a ruling in their favor. Not even in the local Courts which traditionally are likely to favor local authorities. None of the cases listed could find any Federal Court that had any interest in hearing their lame arguments.

    In John Ter Beek vs City of Wyoming (2014) the respondents did manage to get the local, elected Judge to back the attempt by the City of Wyoming to use Federal law as a ruse to get out of doing their job but the Michigan Court of Appeals promptly overturned and the Michigan Supreme Court made that ruling final.

    If people are going to act all self righteous about the low, then they should learn the law. The Federal government is not the boss of the States. The States are the boss of the Federal government.

  27. Some may say this is shocking but if you have followed Rand for any amount of time, you would know he is a true Libertarian that wants government to leave its people alone to make their own choices. While he may not be as anti-government as his father, Rand understands that we are human beings with the ability to make choices for ourselves and that we also have to accept responsibility for the choices we make.

    But it won’t stop people from criticizing Rand on issues like immigration, healthcare, and education where they think everything should be free and Rand believes government should have nothing to do with the latter two. And for those people, you think the Libtards give a fuck about your personal choices? Before you go criticizing Rand, perhaps you should support him because of what he is trying to do. If you are holding out for a perfect candidate, dream on. Give me a candidate that wants to leave me alone and I’ll vote for him every single time.

  28. Before you cast your vote for Mr. Paul, please be sure you understand his positions on other important issues. He’s not nearly so enlightened when it comes to immigration, health care and education.

  29. Whoa, didn’t see this one coming! But as I predicted, the formal backlash against the federal law is thankfully growing! I think it will continue to increase, and I think that before long, the fed govt will be forced to revise the fed law. It’s already embarrassing enough that by 2015, almost exactly 50% of the states will be in direct opposition to the fed law by allowing medical Cannabis. This is really getting interesting now :)

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