Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young recently co-authored a bipartisan letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, requesting the inclusion of language in the Fiscal Year 2018 spending bill that would bar the Department of Justice from using resources to prosecute individuals who are acting in compliance with their state’s medical marijuana laws. The letter was signed 43 members of the House of Representatives.
“As you prepare the Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, we respectfully request that you include language barring the Department of Justice from prosecuting those who comply with their state’ medical marijuana laws. We believe such a policy is not only consistent with the wishes of a bipartisan majority of the members of the House, but also with the wishes of the American people,” the co-authors wrote.
“Since 2014, the House of Representatives has consistently supported such language – first by a vote of 219-189 in 2014, and most recently by a vote of 242-185 in 2015...We believe that the consistent, bipartisan support for such protections against federal enforcement, combined with the fact that similar language has been in place since December 2014, makes a strong case for including similar language in your base FY 2018 appropriations bill,” the letter states.
In recent years, Congress has amended its annual appropriations bills to prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds to prevent the administration and usage of medical marijuana in states where it is legal. As a cosponsor of these amendments – commonly referred to as the Rohrabacher Amendment – Congressman Young says his support serves to benefit members of our nation’s veteran community, who have relied on medical marijuana as an alternative to traditional but addictive medications, and his firm belief in the principles of the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Congressman Young is a founding member of the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus, which serves as a forum for members of the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss, learn and work together to establish a better and more rational approach to federal cannabis policy. Young does not personally advocate for the use of marijuana, but says his position on marijuana policy is an issue of states’ rights. He has supported numerous measures in Congress to protect the ability of states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana, including Alaska, to enforce their own laws on the issue. These bills include:
- H.R. 975, the Respect Medical Marijuana Laws Act of 2017, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide that the Act's regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal penalties do not apply to a person who produces, possesses, distributes, dispenses, administers, or delivers marijuana in compliance with state laws.
- H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017, which would remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act.
- The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect Sales (CARERS) Act, which will be introduced in the coming days of the 115th Congress. This legislation would allow states to set their own medical marijuana policies, recognize a legitimate use for marijuana at the federal level, and allow Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to recommend safe and effective marijuana-related treatments.
The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act), which has yet to be introduced in the 115th Congress. This legislation would remove uncertainty by providing a “safe harbor” under criminal and civil laws for depository institutions who provide a "financial product or service" to a covered business. For example, federal banking regulators would not be able to threaten or limit a bank or credit union’s Deposit Insurance or force a depository institution to halt providing any kind of banking services to a marijuana-related legitimate business.
Click here to view the letter.