A few weeks ago, in a bipartisan show of force, the majority of all members of US Congress overwhelmingly voted to uphold an Amendment blocking the Federal Government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients under Federal Law. The legislation is known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, temporarily passed under Barack Obama in 2014. However, as of last month Congress has officially chosen to extend and renew the countries commitment to the amendment, tactically preventing the US Department of Justice from using Federal funds or taxpayer money to prosecute individuals whom have taken advantage of the marijuana laws drafted by their State, such as medical marijuana patients.
The measure was passed in response to Donald Trump and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom had previously vowed to crackdown on marijuana use nationwide. Not just by threatening to block funding to states violating Federal marijuana laws, but also by threatening to arrest individual medical marijuana patients for using marijuana in the first place – also technically a violation of “Federal law,” which prevents marijuana consumption on all levels, even if a person has a legal prescription and doctors order.
While Republicans and conservatives used to vow to uphold, protect and strengthen “States Rights” in the past, under Donald Trump’s leadership the Republican Party has taken major steps backwards in this regard. From building border walls, to cracking down on sanctuary cities, to cracking down on marijuana, the Republicans have continued to show a complete disregard for laws on the State level in 2017, instead choosing to implement a utilitarian approach to law making and law enforcement on the Federal level.
The fight to protect state sovereignty in regards to marijuana laws can be traced back to May of 2016, after Jeff Sessions formally sent a letter to US Congress asking them to completely dismantle the Rohrabacher-Furr Amendment so that the Federal Government could more effectively begin cracking down on drug use and illegal drug trade. At the time, Sessions argued that granting states the ability to create their own laws handcuffed law enforcement and the Federal Governments ability to effectively implement new policy measures in the future. Thankfully though, at least when it comes to Jeff Sessions and his approach towards advancing the Nations “War on Drugs,” members of the Republican and Democrat Parties were able to come together and block his strategy from ever coming to fruition.
Congress is heading for a confrontation with Sessions over marijuana https://t.co/TeFe524IUK Both parties pushing bills to block Sessions.
— Sanho Tree (@SanhoTree) August 4, 2017
In response to the renewal of the Amendment Tom Angell, Chairmen of Marijuana Majority, surmised how “This vote is not only a blow against an outdated Reefer Madness mindset, it is a personal rebuke to Jeff Sessions.” Explaining how “The attorney general, in contravention of President Trump’s campaign pledges and of public opinion, specifically asked Congress to give him the power to arrest and prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers who are following state laws. A bipartisan group of his former Senate colleagues just said no.” While adding that Congresses actions prove that “The War on marijuana is ending, even if Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions haven’t realized it yet.”
As it stands today the majority of all US States have recently passed common sense marijuana laws over the last several years. Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 States nationwide and 8 States have completely legalized weed for recreational use. Moreover, as many as 14 additional States are actively debating the full legalization of marijuana within the next year. For everyone’s sake, we should all thank Congress for passing the Rohrabacher-Furr Amendment and preventing the Trump Administration from erasing decades of progress in regards to common sense marijuana reform.
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