Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 219-189, an amendment to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill (H.R. 4660) that bars the Department of Justice from spending any funds to enforce federal laws related to marijuana in states that have passed medical marijuana initiatives. Those states include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
We must now do our best to ensure that the House-passed Rohrabacher amendment or any similar amendment does not get added to the Senate version of the CJS bill. NOW is the time to call and write your Senator and urge them NOT to pass any amendment that would prohibit federal enforcement efforts related to marijuana in medical marijuana states.
Such amendments would seriously damage federal enforcement efforts at a time when all law enforcement agencies are working to prevent diversion to youth, trafficking to other states, and increased criminal activity. In addition, the divide on enforcement between federal and state and local law enforcement causes confusion for law enforcement officers.
It is evident that the passage of these amendments and the forced “stand down” of federal enforcement efforts will have clear and foreseeable negative consequences for the communities we serve.
Unless your Senator hears from you, a similar amendment may be added to the Senate bill. The IACP urges you to call your Senator and/or send them a letter of opposition. It is imperative that they hear directly from the law enforcement community that any amendment that undermines the ability of federal agencies to enforce federal marijuana laws will negatively impact state and local law enforcement efforts.
You can reach your Senator by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. You should ask to speak directly to your Senator or their legislative director/legislative assistant who handles criminal justice and justice-related appropriations issues. You can send a letter to your Senator by clicking here. If you wish, you can personalize it with examples from your own community and experiences.