Recently, the US House of Representatives passed the 2016 Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill, which provides funding structure for the DEA, with the following seven amendments:

  • States’ Rights on Medical Marijuana  The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which passed 242-186, forbids any federal funds from being used by Justice (including DEA) to interfere with state medical marijuana laws (last year’s version passed 219-189;
  • States’ Rights on Medical Cannabidiol The Perry Amendment, which passed 297-130, forbids Justice funds spent on interference with states that have passed cannabidiol (CBD-only) laws;
  • States’ Rights on Industrial Hemp The Bonamici-Massie Amendment, which passed 282-146, forbids Justice funds spent on interference with states that have passed industrial hemp laws;
  • Redirect $9 Million from DEA’s Cannabis Eradication Budget to youth programs, victims of child abuse, and deficit reduction The Liew Amendment passed by voice vote;
  • Redirect $10 Million from DEA’s Salaries & Expenses to equipping police with body cameras The Castro Amendment passed by voice vote;
  • Redirect $4 Million from DEA’s Budget to funding for the testing of backlogged forensic rape kits The Cohen Amendment passed by voice vote;
  • End the Bulk Collection of Telecommunications Records The Polis-Griffith Amendment passed by voice vote, striking a blow to the DEA’s practice of “parallel construction” by which they’d use NSA & CIA information to tip off local law enforcement in drug cases, then launder any evidence that mass federal data collection was involved in the tip.

As you can see, all of these amendments are a huge step in the right direction towards ending the drug war and stopping the senseless violence it has caused. Hopefully we will see this trend continue, and we can redirect more funds towards fighting crime that is actually a danger to society. Spending less money sending young people to prison and more money on solving unsolved rapes and murders? Sounds like a good idea to us.

Statement from Russ Belville, Executive Director of Portland NORML

“In the past 24 hours, Congress has issued the greatest federal rebuke to the Drug Enforcement Administration in the War on Drugs era,” remarked Portland NORML Executive Director Russ Belville. “Kudos to Reps. Bonamici and Blumenauer for their defense of Oregon’s cannabis laws. It’s about time Congress recognized that states are the best suited to regulate cannabis and that the much of the tax money spent on the DEA is better spent protecting the men, women, and children of America.”