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Law Rohrabacher–Blumenauer Amendment and MMJ

Baron23

Well-Known Member
I was wrong in that I did not know that such language was included in the Senate version. That's good because although new amendments can be inserted during reconciliation negotiations, its uncommon. Way better that it is in the Senate version, out from under Pete 'you asshat' Sessions Rules Committee censorship of the house.


Shutdown unlikely, but Medical Marijuana protections still at risk

Congressional Republicans were reportedly near agreement on Thursday morning on a temporary deal that would avert a federal shutdown on Dec. 8. That’s the date that the current federal budget runs out of money. The deal under discussion would fund the government at current levels for another two weeks, through Dec. 22.

If that were to happen, the budget amendment known as Rohrabacher–Blumenauer (which prevents the Department of Justice from arresting and prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers in legal states) would remain in effect through Dec. 22 as well. That’s because any continuing resolution would probably say: Same budget as last year, just extended for two more weeks.

On Wednesday, Senate and House Republican leaders seemed to be nearing consensus on a continuing resolution that would effectively bridge the budget gap for the next two weeks. The main hurdle to overcome was the party’s Freedom Caucus, which was demanding increased defense spending and budget cuts in all non-defense areas.

Politico reported on Wednesday:

If the conservative faction ultimately backs the package, it would likely seal the GOP’s hopes of avoiding the need for a last-minute deal with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) or Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who could demand additional concessions to keep the government open. Many Democrats are vowing to vote against government funding legislation if it doesn’t also provide deportation relief for Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants who came to the country as minors.

OK, No Shutdown. Then What Happens?

Beyond that two-week stopgap measure, though, Congress still must approve a full annual federal budget. And that’s where things get dicey for those Rohrabacher–Blumenauer protections.

The full 2018 budget won’t be written from scratch in the next two weeks. Two different versions of the budget were already passed by the respective bodies of Congress earlier this year. The Senate passed one version, while the House passed its own iteration. There are many differences between the two.

The Senate version contained the language of the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer amendment, which prohibits the Department of Justice (which includes the DEA and the FBI) from using any federal funds to arrest or prosecute anyone who abides by state regulations in states that have legalized medical marijuana.

The House version of the budget does not contain the same language, because Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chair of the House Rules Committee, refused to allow the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer amendment to pass out of his committee.

In past years, Rohrabacher–Blumenauer (known in previous versions as Rohrabacher–Farr) has easily won favor on the full House floor, and the amendment is still expected to pass handily if it were presented to the full House. Sessions (no relation to Attorney General Jeff Sessions) is the only roadblock. But the committee chair position is a powerful one in Congress.

Pete Sessions has allowed previous versions of Rohrabacher–Blumenauer to pass through his committee, but this year Attorney General Sessions specifically wrote a letter to Congressional leaders requesting an end to the medical cannabis protections. “The Department,” he wrote, “must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

It’s unclear exactly why Pete Sessions blocked the amendment this year, but the reason could be as simple as a desire to please the Attorney General.

It’s All About the Conference Committee

The fate of the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer protections will be decided over the next month by negotiators in a Congressional conference committee, where members get together to reconcile the two competing versions of the budget.

It’s anybody’s guess whether Rohrabacher–Blumenauer survives that reconciliation. It could survive because of the overwhelming popular support for medical cannabis—which the latest polls put at 94%—or it could get lost amid the horse trading that goes on behind closed doors.

In a worst-case scenario, the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer protections could get dropped in this budget cycle. That would give the Justice Department, commanded by Jeff Sessions, legal room to operate against medical cannabis patients and providers.

But it’s highly likely that the amendment would be revived during the very next budget cycle, and federal judges have ruled in past cases that Justice Department prosecutors may not prosecute MMJ arrests as long as the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer protections remain in effect—even if the arrests occurred when the protections were not in effect.

In other words, if federal agents were to arrest a medical cannabis provider during a budget year that had no Rohrabacher–Blumenauer protections, that provider could seek to delay the case until the protections were re-adopted in the next budget cycle. But that, of course, takes resources. Good legal counsel costs money.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Probably the most important thing facing MMJ in the next month. This is CRITICAL.


Congress Avoids Shutdown, MMJ Safe Until Late December


On Thursday, elected officials in the House and Senate passed a stopgap-spending bill that temporarily averts a federal shutdown of the U.S. government and extends protections for state medical marijuana programs through Dec. 22.

The two-week continuing resolution (CR) was initially passed in the House 235-193 and shortly thereafter by the Senate 81-14.

Agreed-upon by the entire United States Congress and delivered to President Trump, the continuing resolution includes the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer budget amendment.

Once the temporary measure is signed by Trump, the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer budget amendment will continue to shield those states that have legalized medicinal cannabis from unwarranted prosecution by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

A relatively short reprieve, the two-week extension of the federal budget prohibits Jeff Sessions and the DOJ from spending any funds to impede or interfere with the operation or implementation of a state’s medical marijuana laws and funds the government through Dec. 22.

Ultimately pleased by the CR’s passage but concerned by the annual threat visited on medical marijuana states, Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR), issued the following press release:

“While we are pleased that these critical protections will continue, two weeks is not enough certainty for the millions of Americans who rely on medical marijuana for treatment and the businesses who serve them. As Congress works out a long-term funding bill, it must also include these protections. And ultimately, Congress must act to put an end to the cycle of uncertainty and permanently protect state medical marijuana programs—and adult use—from federal interference. The American people have spoken. It’s past time that Congress catch up.”

More about states’ rights than partisan politics, the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer budget amendment, once referred to as “Rohrabacher–Farr,” has played a critical role in protecting states that have legalized medical marijuana since 2014.

Supportive of states’ rights and the idea of federalism, an advocacy group known as the Competitive Enterprise Institute wrote a letter asking America’s congressional leaders support these critical protections.

Citing the need to “preserve a provision that has had long-standing support in Congress and among the nation’s voters,” Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell, Leader Pelosi, and Leader Schumer were asked to help safeguard “our nation’s fragile principle of federalism.”
 

OldOyler

Well-Known Member
thegovernment-is-guarding-manufacturing-and-wascaught-poppy-fields-crack-trafficking-22928975.png
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
The Marijuana Policy Project has a link for sending letters to your politicians regarding support for continuation of the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer which prevents DOJ and Sessions from spending money attacking state level MMJ programs.

Anybody reading this should respond and send letters, IMO.

https://www.mpp.org/takeaction/contact-legislators/
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
This is no way to run a frakin choo-choo train. sigh...well, we are good until the 19th of Jan.


Trump signs stopgap spending bill extending federal medical marijuana protections a few more weeks
Congress kicks the proverbial bong down the road once again.


President Donald Trump signed a temporary spending bill into law on Friday to avert a government shutdown after the Republican-led Congress did the bare minimum in a sprint toward the holidays and punted disputes on immigration, health care and the budget to next year.

Protections for state medical marijuana programs known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment were also continued in the legislation to fund the government through Jan. 19, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., announced in a statement Friday.

Related stories
“Patients around the country who rely on medical marijuana for treatment–and the businesses that serve them–now have some measure of certainty,” he said in a statement. “Our fight, however, continues to maintain these important protections in the next funding bill passed by Congress.”

The measure had passed the House on Thursday on a 231-188 vote over Democratic opposition and then cleared the Senate, 66-32, with Democrats from Republican-leaning states providing many of the key votes.

This is the second time Rohrabacher-Blumenauer protections have been temporarily extended as part of stopgap spending measures. It comes less than a month after a letter was made public in which 66 members of Congress urged Senate and House leaders to extend the medical marijuana protections that have been in place since December 2014. Those protections, previously known as Rohrabacher-Farr, prohibit the U.S. Department of Justice from using federal funds to prevent certain states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Nearly 70 Congress members push spending bill amendment to protect state-legal marijuana
"In the last week there's been a groundswell of support to include this amendment in appropriations legislation," Rep. Jared Polis said.


Members of Congress have proposed a spending bill amendment that would ensure protections for states that have legalized marijuana.

Nearly 70 U.S. representatives signed onto a letter sent Friday to U.S. House of Representatives leadership asking for the inclusion of the provision, known as the McClintock-Polis Amendment, that ensures U.S. Department of Justice funds cannot be used to interfere with states that have authorized some form of marijuana legalization.

The McClintock-Polis Amendment has taken on a new level of urgency in the wake of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Jan. 4 memo rescinding Obama-era guidance on marijuana enforcement, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., told The Cannabist.

“In the last week there’s been a groundswell of support to include this amendment in appropriations legislation,” he said.

Last April, a letter from Reps. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., and Polis requesting inclusion of their amendment in the appropriations bill had a total of 16 signatures. The letter sent Friday had the support of 69 members.

In it, the congressmen asked that “any forthcoming appropriations or funding bill” include the following language:

None of the funds made available by this act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana on non-Federal lands within their respective jurisdictions.

The representatives said the proposed provision respects constitutional authority for states to regulate commerce within their own borders.

“Specifically, we are concerned with several attempts to apply federal law upon commerce related to cannabis that is conducted entirely within the boundaries of states that have legalized such commerce,” the representatives wrote. “While the federal government is legitimately empowered to regulate interstate commerce, the measures adopted by states such as California, Oregon and Colorado are aimed solely at intrastate commerce and as such should not be interfered with.

Related stories
“Indeed, this is exactly the mechanism (former U.S. Supreme Court Justice) Louis Brandeis referred to when he wrote of the states as laboratories for innovation and experimentation.”

An amendment preventing the Justice Department from using federal funds to prosecute individuals in states where medical marijuana is legal has been included in appropriations bills since 2014. The so-called Rohrabacher-Blumenaeur amendment remains in place following the Dec. 22 signing of a stopgap spending bill. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., a co-sponsor of the amendment, has said that efforts are ongoing to include the language in upcoming appropriations legislation.

Related: Federal marijuana bills boosted by new supporters as Congress gets back to work

Following Sessions’ move on Jan. 4, members of Congress have pushed back and conducted emergency meetings to develop a response — be it via a spending bill rider or longer-term legislation.

Polis on Friday said he would continue to push for passage of his Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which would end the federal prohibition on marijuana. However, “that could take years,” he said. “This is urgent — we must get this amendment passed in any vehicle that funds the government.”
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Sad, truly sad and we need different elected representatives. Just sad that this is still going on.

Colorado congressmen butt heads on spending bill amendment to protect state-legal marijuana


By Alex Pasquariello, The Cannabist Staff

The recent “groundswell” of support for a spending bill amendment protecting state-legal marijuana proposed by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis wasn’t enough to move a powerful Congressional committee — or even a Republican from his own state serving on it.

Polis attempted to push the provision known as the McClintock-Polis Amendment into the continuing resolution to fund the government during an emergency meeting of the House Rules committee late Wednesday night. The provision would ensure U.S. Department of Justice funds cannot be used to interfere with states that have authorized some form of marijuana legalization.

The Democratic congressman’s case didn’t just crash into conservative Republican Chairman Pete Sessions — it also rammed into fellow Coloradan Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican serving on the committee.

“I withdrew my amendment because I knew that Republican leadership wouldn’t allow it to move forward because they refuse to challenge Attorney General (Jeff) Sessions and stand up for states that have legalized marijuana,” Polis said in an email to The Cannabist.

“I got the commitment of several colleagues to work on the issue legislatively but they weren’t prepared to vote for my amendment last night,” he said. “But I know the American people agree with me that the federal government should not go after states that have legalized marijuana. My amendment would have protected those states, and with my community backing me I will continue to push for it with leadership.”

Buck claimed during the meeting that the McClintock-Polis language was “superfluous” because language that restricted the Justice Department’s ability to enforce federal marijuana laws was already in place in the existing continuing resolution to fund the government.

Polis pointed out that the language to which Buck was referring is known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, and it provides protections only to medical marijuana.

“That only covers probably about a quarter of regulated marijuana business our state,” Polis said, “the bulk would not be medicinal or home grow, it would be the commercial industry, which is why (the McClintock Polis) amendment is important.”

Related stories
Buck then brought up a Jan. 12 phone conference with members of Colorado’s congressional delegation and their state’s U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer. The Cannabist previously reported that in the call, Troyer told the delegation that his office will not step up marijuana-related prosecutions at the expense of other matters such as immigration, the opioid crisis and violent crime.

With Troyer’s assurances, and with protections in place for medical marijuana, “I don’t believe it’s necessary to pass this,” Buck said. “I’ll be voting against it.”

At that point, Polis withdrew the amendment so that he could continue work to include the amendment in the permanent funding bill language, he said.

The Rules Committee determines when and how bills are considered on the House floor and also considers original jurisdiction measures, which often affect the standing rules of the House. Buck has been on the committee since January 2017; he also serves on the Judiciary Committee.

Less than a week ago, 69 members of Congress signed a letter sent to House leadership asking for the inclusion of the McClintock-Polis Amendment in appropriations legislation funding the government.

The McClintock-Polis Amendment has taken on a new level of urgency in the wake of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Jan. 4 memo rescinding Obama-era guidance on marijuana enforcement, Polis told The Cannabist Jan. 12.

“In the last week there’s been a groundswell of support to include this amendment in appropriations legislation,” he previously told The Cannabist.

Debate on the larger topic of legal marijuana continued Wednesday night after Polis withdrew the amendment.

Chairman Sessions, a Republican from Texas, went on an unprovoked, nearly four-minute rant in which he said marijuana was addictive, implied it was a gateway to opioid abuse, blamed its use by members of his Boy Scout troop for their subsequent addiction issues and confessed he’d never smoked a “marijuana cigarette.”

“I have a strong opinion on drugs. Illegal drugs. Alcohol,” he began. “Marijuana is an addictive product, and merchants of addiction make it that way. They make it for addiction. They make it to where our young people become addicted to marijuana and keep going. And there’s massive amounts of evidence that suggest our young people — many of them that get into heroin, methamphetamine, a lot of other things — begin not only with marijuana but by addiction.”

Polis responded that all sides of the marijuana legalization debate believe addiction is a big problem, and there was no doubt that marijuana — like alcohol, tobacco and even caffeine — can be abused. But he also said that states with legal marijuana have 25 percent lower opioid abuse rates than other states, and that medical marijuana was part of Colorado’s successful strategy to battle the opioid epidemic.

He then briefly recounted the story of an Iraq War veteran awarded the Purple Heart who moved from Florida to his Colorado district so that he could treat his chronic pain with medical marijuana instead of prescription pills.

“(Medical marijuana) allowed him to get off the prescription opioids, conquer that addiction, and live a normal and productive life,” he said. “I’m proud to say he’s back at work.”
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
If Sessions takes advantage of a shutdown to advance his fascist MJ views, there will be a shit storm of epic proportions and the only people who will be happy are the lawyers who will be paid to litigate this for years. Wow, let's hear it for our Federal Government.....better than a lot of others but still merde'.

Government Shutdown Would Let Sessions Attack Medical Marijuana


The federal government will shut down at midnight on Friday, barring an unexpected, last-minute bipartisan deal. That puts medical marijuana patients and providers at risk of being arrested, prosecuted and sent to prison by Jeff Sessions’s Justice Department.

Here’s why:

Under a shutdown scenario, an existing budget provision that prevents the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other agencies from spending money to interfere with state medical cannabis laws would expire. But federal drug enforcement and prosecution actions, which are exempted from furloughs, would continue.

Why Might The Government Shut Down?
A bill to extend federal funding levels and policy riders like the marijuana one through February 16 was approved by the House on Thursday. But a heated dispute over immigration issues has jeopardized its passage in the Senate, where a significant number of Democrats are refusing to support any bill that does not provide protections to people who were brought to the U.S. as children.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance that has generally allowed states to implement their own cannabis laws without federal intervention. That has left recreational marijuana businesses and consumers without a key protection they’ve relied on since 2013, but the ongoing existence of the medical cannabis spending rider has continued to keep patients and providers safeguarded from federal attacks.

Until now.

An unintended consequence of Senate Democrats’ move to block the funding extension bill and shut down the government over immigration issues is that medical marijuana patients and industry operators would be at much greater risk, as soon as this weekend.

Why Would Drug Enforcement Continue Under A Shutdown?
“All agents in DEA field organizations are excepted from furlough because they support active counternarcotics investigations. This encompasses 21 domestic divisions, 7 regional foreign divisions, critical tactical support groups including the El Paso Intelligence Center and the Special Operations Division, forensic sciences, and technical surveillance support,” a Justice Department shutdown contingency plan says. “DEA investigations need to continue uninterrupted so that cases are not compromised and the health and safety of the American public is not placed at risk.”

The same goes for federal prosecutors.

“As Presidential Appointees, U.S. Attorneys are not subject to furlough,” the shutdown document reads. “Excepted employees are needed to address ongoing criminal matters and civil matters of urgency throughout the Nation. Criminal litigation will continue without interruption as an excepted activity to maintain the safety of human life and the protection of property.”

Politics Of Marijuana And Immigration Collide
Democrats, especially those considering 2020 presidential bids, are facing enormous pressure from their progressive base not to go along with yet another bill in a series of short-term funding extensions that do not include protections for young immigrants known as “DREAMers.” Because Republicans hold only 51 seats in the chamber, and a handful of GOP members are also opposing the spending resolution, leaders need support from Democrats to reach the critical 60-vote threshold to advance legislation.

The medical cannabis budget rider was first enacted into law in late 2014, and has since been extended for each subsequent fiscal year. Last May, Sessions sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them not to continue the medical marijuana rider into Fiscal Year 2018.

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” he wrote. “The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

Setting aside the important question of whether the medical cannabis rider will be included in full Fiscal Year 2018 spending legislation that congressional leaders continue to negotiate — and it is a big question, since House leaders blocked lawmakers from even voting on whether to include the policy in that chamber’s version of Justice Department spending legislation — the current budget brinksmanship on Capitol Hill means the medical marijuana protections could disappear as soon as Saturday morning.

A Shutdown Allows Old Federal Marijuana Prosecutions To Resume
If the provision lapses, it wouldn’t just allow new actions against people violating federal marijuana laws. It would also allow earlier medical cannabis prosecutions that were suspended under to the rider to resume.

A federal judge in a California case last August, for example, wrote that the prosecution of two marijuana growers would be “stayed until and unless a future appropriations bill permits the government to proceed. If such a bill is enacted, the government may notify the Court and move for the stay to be lifted.”

The failure to enact a new bill continuing the protections would have the same effect under a shutdown scenario, given that enforcement of federal drug laws would still continue.

Long-Term Status Of Marijuana Protections Unclear
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted in July to include the medical cannabis rider in its version of the 2018 Justice Department funding bill. But without the provision being approved on the House side, its long-term continuance will be determined behind closed doors by a bicameral conference committee that merges the two chambers’ proposal into a single bill to be sent to President Trump.

Advocates have also pushed to expand the protection to encompass all state marijuana laws, not just those focused on medical access. A measure to do that came just nine flipped votes of passage on the House floor in 2015, and the number of states with legalization has doubled since then. However, Republican congressional leaders have blocked subsequent cannabis measures from advancing to floor consideration, including as recently as this week.

In the meantime, medical cannabis patients and providers will wait to see if Jeff Sessions and his DEA agents will regain the ability to come after them for the first time since 2014 this weekend.
 

OldOyler

Well-Known Member
Peace @Baron23 . And btw, thanks forall your hard work on this legal stuff.

:thumbsup:

My quick opinion, they won't shutdown. I have immense faith in corporate greed.

A shutdown is bad for The Man's wallet.

Human workers they can do without.

Human debt slavery via government spending they need desperately. Debt is their precccccious...

Baaaaaa. This sheeple needs his consumer goods. Baaaaa.

:yawn:

Peace!
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member

Medical marijuana protections extended again as part of budget deal




Yet again, those in the medical cannabis industry can heave a sigh of relief. For now.

Under the terms of a new federal budget deal approved Monday by Congress, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment will be extended at least once more, until Feb. 8, when the agreement expires.

The extension was confirmed by Michael Correia, director of government relations for the National Cannabis Industry Association:

“Medical marijuana protections still remain until that date,” Correia wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily.

“We’re working on maintaining those provisions in a longer-term budget.”

The amendment – previously known as Rohrabacher-Farr – ties the hands of the U.S. Department of Justice and its director, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, by prohibiting the agency from using any federal money to interfere with state MMJ laws or businesses.

The measure does not protect recreational marijuana companies.

This is the seventh time the amendment has been temporarily extended by a continuing resolution from Congress, which hasn’t passed a new federal budget since 2015.

The amendment’s ultimate fate is still arguably in doubt, however, because GOP congressional leaders haven’t allowed it to come up for a vote in the House of Representatives.

The amendment was added to a Senate appropriations bill last year, but the competing spending bills between the two chambers were never reconciled.

The only way the measure will be placed into law permanently is for Congress to approve a stand-alone bill instead of as a budget amendment.

But there’s been no indication yet that such a bill may gain any real traction in the Capitol.
 

OldOyler

Well-Known Member
I swear these folks forget that they work for US. The taxpayers.

Can you imagine going to work and completely ignoring your boss' directives, and doing whatever the highest bidder told you to do each day?! Even if it directly hurt your own boss and company?

Peace everyone.

(Thanks as always, baron)
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Federal Medical Marijuana Protections Temporarily Extended, Again

WASHINGTON, DC — After a brief government shutdown, congressional leadership voted to enact a six-week continuing resolution that maintains present federal spending levels and priorities through March 23, 2018.

The resolution extends medical cannabis patient protections imposed by the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment until that date.

The amendment, which has been in place since 2014, maintains that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

Without these protections, medical cannabis cultivators and dispensaries exist with a greater threat than normal of federal enforcement of national prohibition, yet the certainty that these protections will be honored have been in doubt throughout the entire Trump administration.

When President Trump signed the first Continuing Resolution in 2017, he issued a signing statement regarding the amendment, essentially stating that his administration believes they can ignore these protections if they do not view them to be Constitutional:

“Division B, section 537 provides that the Department of Justice may not use any funds to prevent implementation of medical marijuana laws by various States and territories. I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Under this mentality, Attorney General Jeff Sessions could move in to shut down medical marijuana facilities at any point. Should Sessions crackdown, we are confident that we would win a court challenge, given previous rulings on this very question. However, it would be a reactive exercise after an enforcement action, and during that process, the patients who relied on a supply chain to get them their medication would not have a lawful means to do so.

So now, the government reopens under another CR, the protections are back in place, and we are right back where we were; in an uneasy détente. The threat of Sessions on one side and medical patients in a state-lawful system trying to alleviate their suffering.

Further, Congressional leadership must reauthorize this language as part of the forthcoming appropriations in order for the provisions to stay in effect in any new spending deal. Last July, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) offered identical language before the Senate Appropriations Committee, which approved it.

However, House Rules Committee Chair Peter Sessions (R-TX) has refused to allow House members to vote on similar language.

The provision will now be considered by House and Senate leadership when the two chambers’ appropriations bills are reconciled, should Congress ever set a FY18 budget, of which is already over a third of the way behind us.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Well, its not called the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer Amendment (which was the house initiative, I believe, while this is the Senate), it would appear that it serves the same basic purpose but also includes rec.


Protect Marijuana From Jeff Sessions, GOP & Dem Senators Ask Leaders

A bipartisan group of 18 U.S. senators is asking congressional leaders to insert new far-reaching protections for state marijuana laws into a must-pass spending bill due next month.

“For the last several years, states have changed their regulatory regimes governing marijuana. What began with relatively isolated experiments has spread across the country as citizens have expressed their will through the democratic process,” the lawmakers, led by Colorado Sens. Cory Gardner (R) and Michael Bennet (D), wrote in a letter sent to the Senate’s top appropriations decisionmakers on Monday. “Today, the vast majority of states – 29 in all – have some form of reduced restrictions on marijuana. Other states have proposals to do the same. These states crafted serious, thoughtful regulatory regimes.”

An existing provision in federal spending law protects state medical cannabis laws from Justice Department interference, but it does not extend to policies allowing recreational use and sales, and its own continuance in upcoming legislation is in jeopardy after House leaders blocked a vote on it.

A current temporary spending bill — and its policy riders like the medical marijuana protections — is set to expire on March 23. Last month, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance that has generally allowed states to implement their own marijuana laws without federal intervention.

“Citizens who have been acting in good faith based on federal and state assurances now feel exposed,” the senators wrote. “This disruption may deny medications to the sick, push individuals back into illicit markets, and nullify the previously-effective regulations – all while thwarting the democratically-expressed will of the states.”

The bipartisan group wants congressional leadership to join them in crating new “precise language that will preserve state laws regarding marijuana regulation until we can establish a longer-term framework.”

upload_2018-2-14_12-0-25.png


“It is our hope that the fiscal year 2018 appropriations will alleviate the turbulence the Attorney General’s abrupt decision has caused and that the appropriations will help preserve the strong regulatory frameworks the states have created,” the wrote. “Doing so will provide the opportunity to pursue federal legislation that both protects the legitimate federal interests at stake and respects the will of the states – both those that have liberalized their marijuana laws and those that have not.”

Besides Gardner and Bennet, the letter’s other signatories are Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Edward Markey (D-MA).

COPY OF LETTER CAN BE READ HERE: https://www.scribd.com/document/371...ns-Letter-on-Marijuana-Enforcement#from_embed
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member

Congress will decide medical marijuana's future this month


While many are focused on DACA and funding for the wall in the next appropriations bill to be considered by Congress before the March 23 deadline, another issue that will also be litigated is the future of states that have allowed medical marijuana.

Since 2014, Congress has included a funding rider that prevents the Justice Department from taking action against states that have allowed the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.

President Trump’s numerous campaign promises to uphold this freedom for states that have passed laws allowing marijuana for medical use is well documented. Yet, his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has gone as far as to send a letter to members of Congress demanding the funding rider be removed from law.

Sessions’ stance on the issue violates the notion of federalism and breaks Trump’s campaign promises.

The funding rider was first passed as an amendment offered by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Samuel Farr, D-Calif., on a 242-186 vote in the House. It was made part of the appropriations “CROmibus” that was signed into law late in 2014.

Rohrabacher teamed up with Rep. Earl Blumenauer after Farr left Congress to push the bipartisan amendment. The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment was blocked by a House leadership rule preventing the amendment from being offered during last year’s appropriations process. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., was successful in attaching the prohibition to the Senate appropriations bill for the Justice Department last year.

Multiple continuing resolutions have continued enforcement of the provision into this year, yet the final disposition on this issue is in doubt as Congress negotiates the final appropriations bill for this year before the late March deadline.

It would be both a political and a policy mistake for Congress to not renew the rider.

On the political side, it is clear that medical marijuana has wide support from voters of both parties. The Washington Times reported on Apr. 18, 2017 on a Yahoo/Marist poll that pegged support for medical marijuana at 83 percent.

Candidate Trump understood the will of the people, and that is why he was so vocal a supporter of medical marijuana. Not many issues poll that high, and considering that Congress had a 10 percent approval rating (14 percent approval of Congress by Republicans) according to a Facebook/Quinnipiac Poll from August of last year, they might want to support medical marijuana for political reasons.

On the policy side, it also makes sense for a Republican-controlled Congress to respect the wishes of states that have allowed medical marijuana. Federalism is a core value of the Republican party, yet the party is not abiding by the idea that the states make better decisions about governing their own populations.

This is an issue that does not divide the American people, yet the Republican leadership seems to be answering to the will of Attorney General Sessions more so than the will of their own constituents.

As a loyal Republican, and a former House staffer, I want my party to succeed. I want to see Republicans do everything they can to govern consistent with the will of voters in a way that makes it more likely that they hold onto the House.

That may not be the case if the Congress continually ignores the will of Americans who want to see spending under control and a government that acts consistent with the will of the people.

In our great nation, we have a separation of powers that provides Congress the “power of the purse.” Congress makes the laws, and the executive branch implements them.

Congress is well within its powers to prevent the Justice Department from implementing a wrongheaded policy that will go after legal enterprises in states that are providing medical marijuana services to needy people.

The people in states that have voted for state legislators who have passed laws to allow medical marijuana need to be respected. Congress should flex some muscle to keep the Rohrabacher-Leahy amendment in place.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Will Congress side with Trump or Sessions on medical marijuana rider?

t’s no secret Jeff Sessions does not like marijuana. He prosecuted it vigorously as a U.S. attorney and opposed weakening of any marijuana laws in the Senate.

But Sessions is not president; he is the attorney general and his values do not seem to line up with the president.


President Trump thinks marijuana should be legal for medicinal use and that can be determined by individual states.


However, Sessions has taken active steps in recent days, that could force federal law enforcement officials to revert back t stricter marijuana enforcement — even in states where it has been made legal.

Federal marijuana laws remain in place. However, since 2014, Congress has passed an annual rider that calls for no money to be spent on prosecuting marijuana use whether medical or recreational in states that have legalized weed — so long as the people involved are in compliance with state laws.

The additional provision has been critical in enabling suppliers to invest in their operations without fear they would be shut down in the short term. The rider is supposed to come up for a vote on March 23, and Sessions has sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them not to pass it this time.

He said we are in the middle of an historic drug epidemic and a potentially long-term increase in violent crime. He asked that he be free to use “all laws available” to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.

“It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States,” Sessions said in his announcement. “…Federal law is the supreme law of the land.”

But who supports this war?

Polls show 94 percent of Americans – and 91 percent of Republicans – support medical marijuana, and two-thirds of Americans and more than half of Republicans support making it legal for recreational use.

Eight states and the District of Columbia allow recreational use, 31 states allow medical marijuana and 46 allow cannabis and cannabis compounds to be used in medicines.

The House of Representatives approved the first rider in 2014 by a 219-189 margin with 49 Republicans voting for it. Its most consistent sponsors are Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) — both Republicans. The lawmakers had threatened to block all Justice Department nominees until Sessions changes his tune.

In an era of historically low cooperation among the parties, this measure has passed every year with Republicans in control of Congress and, since 2017, with a Republican in the White House.

Candidate Trump promised to get tough on the border to stop the flow of opioids, cocaine and other dangerous drugs. But he made clear on the trail he did not intend to do what Sessions is doing and vigorously pursue marijuana prosecutions.

“I think medical should happen,” he said in October 2015. “Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states. It should be a state decision … I know people that are very, very sick and for whatever reason the marijuana really helps them … but in terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state-by-state issue.”

Governors are counting on Trump’s indifference to spell doom for Sessions’ initiative.

“Even though there’s fear that Sessions wants to go after legal marijuana business owners, many states are moving ahead with efforts to either launch a new medicinal marijuana industry, expand an existing one or to legalize weed for recreational purposes,” according to the Rolling Stone. “And governors say so far Sessions’ opposition hasn’t had an impact on the ground.”

Trump supporters should hope it stays that way. Sessions risks a dangerous confrontation with states and legitimate businesses from which there would be no easy escape for the administration.

It would be a self-inflicted wound. The president has set out a policy that is popular, workable and practical. The will of the people, as told to pollsters and as reflected in election results at the state and national levels, is not for a sharp crackdown on legal businesses that have been given every indication they would be allowed to continue.

It’s time the president direct his attorney general to follow through on the promises the campaign made to the American voters. We have one president, and he is not Jeff Sessions.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Dana Rohrabacher's Last Stand: California Conservative's Fate Could Hinge on Cannabis Vote

On a recent Friday afternoon in Costa Mesa, Calif., Dana Rohrabacher picks up his guitar and begins strumming the chords to his personal anthem.

“This is one I wrote. It’s called ‘Individual Man,’” he says. The simple tune is hardly Dylan-esque. But it is pure Rohrabacher. It is true to the conservative surfer-Congressman, and to the hardline anti-communist who became a freedom-trumpeting hero of the legal cannabis movement.

The spicy aroma of his homemade curry stew wafts in from the kitchen of his modernized 1950s-era California rambler. It’s a typical Friday on a regular weekend return from Washington, D.C. Family, kids, friends and political supporters roll in and out of the house. And Rohrabacher, 70, holds the stage as always.

He tilts back his head and breaks into song, a salute to libertarian living.

I don’t own nobody
Nobody owns me
I’m just an individual man
I just want to be free


Shortly before the performance, he took a phone call from a surfing activist inviting him to support placing small sonar detection buoys to warn of sharks near populated beaches.

The Congressman is suddenly very vulnerable—and the cannabis legalization movement is at risk of losing one of its most powerful defenders.
Rohrabacher’s eyes lit up over the proposal. “I’m going to be back in the water, in about two months, surfing,” said Rohrabacher, who’s recovering from shoulder surgery, the price paid for decades of wave-paddling. “And I don’t want to get eaten by a shark.”

It’s as fitting a metaphor as anything: If there were detection buoys protecting Dana Rohrabacher’s job, they would be sounding the alarm right about now because, politically, sharks are indeed in the water. California’s conservative firebrand and cannabis legalization champion is facing the toughest re-election fight of his life. The Republican stalwart has enjoyed a ballot-proof seat for 30 years. But suddenly he finds himself vulnerable—and the cannabis legalization movement is at risk of losing one of its most powerful defenders.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has included Rohrabacher’s district (California’s 48th, in the heart of historically conservative Orange County) on its Nov. 2018 target list.

A vast primary election field—with 15 challengers, including the county Republican chairman—threatens to do the once-unthinkable: oust Dana Rohrabacher.

'Nobody owns me,' he sings. But his relationship with Putin has raised questions.
What’s Causing all the Trouble?
His bid for a 16th term is in peril of wipeout amid a political rip tide of Trump and the Russians. Changing times and district demographics are also taking a toll.

In this traditional Republican stronghold, Donald Trump has always been a liability. Republicans retain an 11 percent voter registration advantage over Democrats here, but district voters chose Hillary Clinton over Trump back in Nov. 2016. Rohrabacher is not only an unabashed Trump supporter. He’s known Vladimir Putin since the early 1990s, took meetings in 2016 and 2017 with high Russian officials, and met privately with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last August. Those elements have, in the past year, turned Rohrabacher’s reputation inside-out. Once a macho anti-communist who wielded an AK-47 with forces fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, he now stands accused of being a Russian toady, a charge he scorns.

Domestic issues aren’t trending smoothly for him, either. Rohrabacher’s caustic comments on immigrants have drawn protests outside his home-district office. Political rivals blast him for not protecting the California shoreline from President Trump’s plans to reinvigorate off-shore oil drilling.

A recent poll by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found that 48th district voters, by a 51 percent to 41 percent margin, say they are unlikely to back him in November.

A Friend in Need, Indeed
Amid all the tumult, cannabis advocates—including some notably liberal activists—are coming to Rohrabacher’s aid. The Congressman’s camp reports more than $200,000 in contributions from individuals tied to the industry, which approaches one-fifth of his total donations. (See Table for individual contributors.)

'Without the courage of Dana Rohrabacher, it is possible this industry could have been strangled in its grave.'
Steve DeAngelo, Co-founder, Harborside Health Centers
Jason Beck, owner of the Alternative Herbal Health Services dispensary in West Hollywood, is a key Rohrabacher fundraiser. “There is no stronger ally on Capitol Hill, Republican or Democrat than Dana Rohrabacher,” Beck says.

Beck, who has personally donated $3,900, is bundling tens of thousands in donations from cannabis industry professionals and supporters of legal marijuana. Many of contributions come in amounts of $420, the numeric symbol for cannabis. The Rohrabacher campaign says it is hopes to bring in $420,000, “an appropriate amount for the founder of the cannabis caucus,” says campaign finance director Jason Pitkin.

Notable Cannabis Industry Contributors to the Rohrabacher Campaign



Contributor
Company Role Amount
Doug Francis & Rebecca Francis Weedmaps Doug & Rebecca Francis contributed as a private couple. Doug Francis is the CEO of Weedmaps. $10,400
Michael Straumietis Advanced Nutrients CEO $5,400
Keith McCarty Eaze Former CEO $5,400
Braelyn Davis FlavRx Cannabis Marketing Director $5,400
Larry Thacker Caliva CEO $5,400
Michael Nahass Terra Tech COO $4,000
Jason Beck Alternative Herbal Health Services (AHHS) Owner $3,900
Derek Peterson Terra Tech CEO $3,000
David Bronner Dr. Bronner's All-One Cosmic Engagement Officer $2,700
Nick Kovacevish Kush Bottles CEO $2,200
Nitin Khanna Cura Cannabis Solutions CEO $2,700
Andy Williams & Pete Williams Medicine Man Co-founders $1,333
Steve DeAngelo Harborside Health Centers Co-founder $1,000
Jeff Doctor National Indian Cannabis Coalition Executive Director $1,000


19 Years Defending Medical Marijuana

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, left, accompanied by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov, 13, 2014, to discuss marijuana laws. (Lauren Victoria Burke/AP)
The cannabis community believes he has earned its support, no matter any other political views.

Back in the late 1990s, when few Republicans or Democrats were standing up for medical cannabis, Rohrabacher took a huge risk and cast a public vote against prohibition on the House floor.

By 1999, Rohrabacher had heard enough patients’ stories to turn his vote. 'It was a benevolent issue: stopping suffering.'
It was the tail end of the Clinton era, when Democrats and Republicans were tripping over themselves to increase prison sentences and undermine California’s medical marijuana law.

In 1999, a Congressional resolution against state-legal medical cannabis forced Rohrabacher to reconsider his position. He’d been a supporter of Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just Say No’ campaign because he thought it valued personal responsibility. But by 1999, he’d heard enough patients’ stories to turn his vote. “It was a benevolent issue: stopping suffering,” he now recalls.

Cannabis legalization, he says, also fit well with his core belief in personal freedom.

Four years later, Rohrabacher reached across the aisle to join with Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) as co-sponsor of a budget amendment that would prevent the Justice Department from spending any money to prosecute medical cannabis cases in states where it’s legal. It took 11 years for the measure, known later as Rohrabacher-Farr to finally pass in 2014. Though it’s set to expire on March 23, it remains the single most powerful federal protection for cannabis patients in the United States.

“How important is Dana to the cause?” asks Steve DeAngelo, the California cannabis industry leader. “I will tell you without the courage of Dana Rohrabacher, it is possible this industry could have been strangled in its grave. He is absolutely critical.”

Ex-Yippies for Dana
DeAngelo, a former Yippie, holds fiercely progressive views. He disagrees with Rohrabacher on almost every other issue. But because of his cannabis stance, DeAngelo contributed $1,000 to Rohrabacher’s campaign.

Rohrabacher says members of his party warned him early on that he was taking “a great risk” by championing cannabis reform in Congress. Undaunted, last year he went on to help establish the first ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus.


Steve DeAngelo (in hat) is a longtime liberal activist, but backs Rohrabacher on cannabis. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)
“I think I may have lost two percentage points (in voter support),” he says of his stance on the issue. “But I think I gained 10 percent.”

He now believes his cannabis leadership, as a rare and strategically important Republican, could trigger a voter surge to help him retain his seat.

“My opponents will call me a hard-right guy,” Rohrabacher tells me. “I am against abortion. And I think global warming is a total fraud. But people could say, ‘Hey, this is the guy who is fighting against the Drug War and is trying to help people rather than put them in jail.”

But Dan Chmielewski, an Orange County public relations executive who writes a political blog, The Liberal OC, says Rohrabacher’s time is up. “I think Dana’s appeal is looking a lot like the Fox News audience—increasingly older and increasingly whiter and the district is changing demographically,” Chmielewski says. “Orange County is not a one-issue voting community. If he thinks he is going to get liberal votes because of his stance on marijuana, he is sorely mistaken.”


Meanwhile, at Liberty Headquarters
Rohrabacher is plotting his return in campaign offices that reflect his persona.

“Rohrabacher Liberty Headquarters” sit atop Monahan’s Irish Pub in Costa Mesa, just inland from Newport Beach. A “Gone Surfing” sign hangs on the door.

The highlight of the office, which is separate from his official Congressional district headquarters in Huntington Beach, is the Rohrabacher “Liberty Bar.” It comes with two beer taps, a bust of Ronald Reagan and photos of Rohrabacher, in tribal garb, with heavily armed Mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan in 1988. “We have a lot of drinks here after meetings – no doubt,” Rohrabacher says. “This is where people get lubricated.”

Dressed in a tan suit with an open collar that reveals his puka shell necklace, Rohrabacher relaxes in a chair near the bar, without any lubrication. He shares a story about his appearance years back on Bill Maher’s show, Politically Incorrect, when they poked fun of Bill Clinton’s admission of using cannabis without inhaling.

“He (Maher) leans across the table and says, ‘Hey, Buddy, did you inhale? I said, ‘Hey, Buddy, I did everything but drink the bong water.”

‘Had I Been Arrested…’

A bust of President Ronald Reagan sits on the bar inside Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s campaign office. (Nick Agro for Leafly)
Truth be told, Rohrabacher says, he hadn’t touched cannabis for nearly 50 years since he briefly smoked marijuana in his early twenties.

But a little more than a year ago, that changed. It happened after surgeons cut him open, inserting metal rods in both arms and artificial joints in double shoulder replacement surgery. It was the price he paid for grinding down his cartilage during decades of paddling into the surf.

He recently used a CBD topical after his shoulder surgery. 'It allowed the pain to let up, so I could sleep.'
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
In the painful aftermath of the surgery, Rohrabacher went to a physician in California for his first-ever recommendation for medical marijuana. He later obtained a cannabidiol (CBD) salve at a dispensary in Washington D.C. “I put it on my arms for a couple of hours,” he says. “It allowed the pain to let up, so I could go to sleep.”

He equates his cannabis use, even if far more limited than he once boasted, with his opposition to federal drug policies on marijuana resulting in incarceration and too many life paths disrupted.

“Had I been arrested” as a young man, he says, “I would never have worked for Reagan. I could never have run for office. People would have put up posters saying I was a drug addict. There are societal costs. You can end up ruining your life.”

He is publicly scornful of Sessions, ripping the Republican attorney general for actively working to kill his budget amendment that protects medical cannabis patients and providers.

“Jeff Sessions wants to eliminate Rohrabacher-Farr,” he says. “That just means the drug cartels in Mexico will bring the mariachis in and say, ‘Let’s celebrate!”

A new version of the amendment (most recently Rohrabacher-Blumenauer, with Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer) was kept out of a pending Congressional budget bill by Republican committee chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX). Rohrabacher says he has a promise from House GOP leadership, as well as Democrats and Republican in the Senate he won’t identify, to take up the amendment in eventual conference committee negotiations.

Rohrabacher’s advocacy has earned him the support of liberals and conservatives in the cannabis world. But his political opponents say that support alone won’t save his political career.

A Biotech Challenger
“Smoking pot and surfing are insufficient qualifications for a Congressman,” says Hans Keirstead, a Rohrabacher challenger who recently secured the endorsement of the California Democratic Party. Keirstead, a former University of California, Irvine, professor and a stem cell and cancer researcher, founded a biotech company, California Stem Cell Inc., in 2005. After developing a proprietary method to produce human stem cells, Keirstad sold the firm for $126 million in 2014. https://www.caladrius.com/press-rel...greement-to-acquire-california-stem-cell-inc/

Keirstead raised $871,558 for his campaign by the end of 2017, including a $215,000 personal loan, according to Federal Election Commission Reports. He told me he expects to amass $7 million for the race, about one quarter of that from his personal coffers. Born in Canada, Keirstead is running on a platform of addressing climate change, treating health care “as a basic human right,” in contrast to Rohrabacher’s intense opposition to Obamacare. He also advocates a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, and a ban on assault rifles.

Keirstead’s website stakes out a cautious position: changing marijuana’s status as a Schedule One drug. He also told me he would like to see federal cannabis prohibition repealed—with strict manufacturing regulations to keep toxins out of cannabis extracts.

Keirstead, who says he hasn’t received any industry donations, says this race isn’t remotely about cannabis. He says it’s about a Congressman who has served too long and lost touch with the district. He blasts the Congressman for traveling to controversial meetings with pro-Putin oligarchs and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“This has nothing to do with America’s interests or the citizens of the 48th District,” Keirstead told me. “Why is he spending time with Russia and dealing with WikiLeaks?”

Democrat: ‘Mad as Hell’
The top-funded Democrat to date, Harley Rouda, a Laguna Beach, technology executive and investor, loaned $675,000 to his own campaign last year, bringing his 2017 total to $1.2 million—$100,000 more than Rohrabacher.

“One year ago, I decided to run for Congress,” Rouda writes on his website. “I was mad as hell. Donald Trump and Dana Rohrabacher were taking America in the wrong direction.”

He calls for trusting science and acting on climate change (but offers no policy recommendations on cannabis.) Meanwhile, his campaign videos cast Rohrabacher as a “pompous politician” compromised by Russian connections.

How Supporters See Him

Gary Monahan owns the bar underneath Rohrabacher’s campaign office. ‘I still think this is a safe seat,’ he says. (Nick Agro for Leafly)
Downstairs from the Rohrabacher Liberty Headquarters, Gary Monahan, a former Costa Mesa mayor and 20-year member of the City Council, is the owner and operator of Monahan’s Irish Pub. He’s a longtime Rohrabacher backer, going back to his days as a young volunteer at Rohrabacher’s old campaign office situated behind a Huntington Beach surf shop.

“The first time I was there, we were stuffing envelopes, and somebody comes in and yells, ‘Surf’s up!’ Everybody in the office grabbed their surf boards,” Monahan recalls. “Dana was the first one into the waves. I knew I liked him right then and there.”

Monahan, who calls Rohrabacher “a down-to-earth man with a big heart who works incredibly hard,” welcomes him when Rohrabacher returns to the district most every weekend. He’ll pour him a Smithwick’s Irish Ale and, every now and then, Monahan grins, a Moscow Mule, a cocktail with Vodka, ginger beer and lime.

Monahan, who unsuccessfully tried to pass a local ordinance to license and regulate cannabis dispensaries in Costa Mesa, hails Rohrabacher as a Republican willing to take political risks on the issue. He also says his friend is getting a raw deal on Russia and Trump.

“The press is after Donald Trump and they’re after his friends too,” Monahan says. “I still think this is a safe seat. But Dana is going to have to work very hard. There is going to be a lot of money spent against him.”

At home in Costa Mesa: 'Do you think anybody will vote against me because they think I’m a Russian spy? Give me a break.'
Dana at Home: Keeping it Real
Earlier this month, Rohrabacher invited me to follow him from “Liberty Headquarters” to his house in Costa Mesa. It’s an updated 1950s California ranch-style home in a suburban tract. Here’s another difference between Rohrabacher and some of his leading challengers. They enter the race as tech millionaires. In 2014, Rohrabacher was listed as the 5th poorest member of Congress.

At home, friends and supporters drift in and out as, in a small kitchen, Rohrabacher makes his signature curry stew and tells stories about the Soviet-Afghan war. Two of his 13-year-old triplets are home. His son, Christian, and daughters, Tristen and Annika, were conceived with assistance of In Vitro Fertilization. That inspired Rohrabacher to become a vocal advocate for stem cell research, a position that caused him “to take a lot of heat from the pro-life movement,” he says.

Rhonda Rohrabacher, his wife of 20 years, is here as well. She’s a longtime Republican activist, and has been running Dana’s campaigns since 2008. (He’s drawn criticism for putting her on his election payroll.)


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher cooks a coconut curry soup at his home in Costa Mesa, Calif. in early March. (Nick Agro for Leafly)
As he moves to the living room, past still another bust of Ronald Reagan, the candidate known for stern views on illegal immigration (including saying Dreamers who arrived as children don’t deserve a path to citizenship) pours glasses of Crema de Membrillo, a tequila liqueur. He recounts his love of Mexico and younger days barnstorming to beaches and cantinas in Baja.

He takes a sip of the sweet cocktail and lets it be known that he isn’t about to surrender his seat in Congress, no matter the opposition massing against him. Pointedly, he says, no Russia allegation is going to take him down, that’s for sure.

“I’m not saying I’m not vulnerable,” Rohrabacher tells me. “I think I am vulnerable. But that’s okay. I’m ahead. I think the voters will see the truth. Do you think anybody will vote against me because they think I’m a Russian spy? Give me a break.”

Um, About That Russia Thing…
Dana Rohrabacher was the son of a Marine Corps pilot, Lt. Col. Donald Tyler Rohrabacher, who instilled in his son the belief that patriotism meant standing up to communism, “the primary threat to the American people.” For years, he did just that, even to the point of facing Soviet artillery fire.

Now he is being assailed for a seemingly warm embrace of a former Soviet KGB agent, Vladimir Putin, in a politically charged time in which U.S. intelligence agencies are saying Russia meddled in the presidential election to help Donald Trump. Supporters of the president, with Rohrabacher among the fiercest, blast Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.


Rohrabacher first met Russian President Vladimir Putin (seen here addressing the Russian parliament in 2003) at a Washington D.C. pub in 1999, when Putin was a young emissary from St. Petersburg. Beer drinking, debate, and arm wrestling ensued. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
His life’s transition from fiery anti-communist to election-meddling denier and accused Putin apologist merits some explaining.

As a young man, Rohrabacher traveled to Vietnam in 1967 to work with anti-communist tribal groups and to Czechoslovakia in 1968 to join with anti-Soviet protesters in Prague. Years later, he went to work as an editorial writer for the Orange County Register, a newspaper that a generation ago offered a fierce blend of anti-communism and libertarianism with a style guide mandating that China be called “Red China” and public schools “tax-supported schools.”

With the election of Ronald Reagan, Rohrabacher scored a dream job as a White House speech writer. Four years later, he left the administration to run for Congress. In November 1988, he was elected to his first term. Three months later, the Soviet Union pulled out of Afghanistan. The Berlin Wall came crashing down that November. “The Cold War was over,” Rohrabacher says, “and Ronald Reagan won.”

In Congress, Reagan’s protégé embraced rapprochement with the former Soviet Union. And in 1992, at Irish Times Pub in Washington D.C., Rohrabacher met an emissary from the Russian city of St. Petersburg—an ex-KGM man named Vladimir Putin. They had a boozy, friendly argument over who prevailed in the Cold War and settled it with an arm-wrestle. Putin won. “We all left laughing,” Rohrabacher says.

Working With Russia Against Terrorism
When Rohrabacher later became chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe, Asia and Emerging Threats, he embraced engaging Russia on common interests, particularly fighting international terrorism. Now those efforts, he says, are earning him critical press coverage and some damning headlines.

Putin’s Favorite Congressman” reads the title of a recent investigation in Politico. It depicts Rohrabacher as a water-carrier for Russian interests. “Mueller sets his sights on Kremlin’s favorite congressman” wrote Vanity Fair. That article that described a Feb. 2017 meeting in Washington D.C. between Rohrabacher and Alexander Torskin, deputy director of the Russian Central Bank. The article reported that Torskin sought to establish back door communications between Putin and Trump.

He’s a member of Congress. The Kremlin Likes Him So Much It Gave Him a Code Name,” the New York Times recently observed. That piece charged that Rohrabacher flew to Russia in April 2016 to receive accusations against prominent Democratic donors from attorney Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, who’s also accused of offering Donald Trump Jr. political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Rohrabacher told me he took the meetings while he was acting in an appropriate role as the foreign affairs subcommittee chairman. He blistered the media characterizations, insisting he gathered no dirt on Democrats, did nothing to establish a Putin-Trump back channel nor provide political favors for Russian interests. He has also dismissed criticism over a dinner with indicted former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, then an undeclared lobbyist for the Russian-backed government in Ukraine.

“I’ve seen the most vile rhetoric used against me with this phony baloney that I’m Putin’s boy,” he fumed. He insists he is pro-America, not pro-Russia, and blasts critics for pounding the drums to re-ignite the Cold War.

And Also: Julian Assange
But he openly boasts about one meeting. Last August, he traveled to the Ecuadoran embassy in London for a furtive get-together with Julian Assange, a meeting resulted in a call to testify before the House Select Intelligence committee.

The WikiLeaks founder, Rohrabacher says, assured him the hacked emails did not come from Russia.
Rohrabacher told me he wanted to hear the WikiLeaks founder’s account on the source of all those hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee. U.S. intelligence agencies say Russia hacked the emails to help Donald Trump and damage Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. Rohrabacher told me Assange let him know the emails “didn’t come from the Russians.” He said Assange promised to share his source if Rohrabacher could relay a special request to Donald Trump.

“(Assange said) he wanted free transit and not to be arrested if he left the Ecuadoran Embassy,” Rohrabacher said.

But he says the White House wasn’t willing to receive Rohrabacher’s message, and that he was pointedly rebuffed when he called Chief of Staff John Kelly. With the Mueller investigation on-going, he said, “General Kelly said if you talk to Trump about anything about Russia, they will use that as a wedge to go in with microscope. It’s better not to go down that road.”

Rohrabacher took another road, going on Fox News’ Sean Hannity’s radio show to announce that his meeting with Assange convinced him that “this unrelenting, sinister story about how Trump colluded with the Russians in order to steal the election is a total con job. A fraud.”

Democratic challenger Hans Keirstead says district voters have heard enough from their Congressman on the subject and are skeptical of his characterizations.

“People are looking at him as being tied up with this Russian mess that investigator Mueller has exposed,” he told me. “And now people are looking at his foolishness on other issues. People are finally watching him speak, and it seems to be rambling nonsense.”

Rohrabacher insists he was sensibly doing his job, one he hopes to continue by winning a 16th term in November.

The Waves Are Rising

Current polls show independent voters trending 61% to 31% against Rohrabacher. But an Orange County pollster says he’s an ‘unusual person’ who usually ‘ends up victorious.’ (Nick Agro for Leafly)
Rohrabacher was re-elected by nearly 17 percentage points in 2016, even as Hillary Clinton won his coastal district over Trump by two points and prevailed in Orange County, the once legendary conservative bastion, by eight points. Rohrabacher has voted in line with Trump’s positions nearly 87 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight, though he notably voted against fellow Republicans and the president on the recent tax plan. He is now trailing Trump in the district, with a 38 percent approval rating compared to 47 percent for the president, according to the Berkeley Institute Governmental Studies survey in early February.

The poll of 1,310 likely voters noted that Rohrabacher gets low marks from a critical sector that accounts for one-fourth of district voter registration: independents. By a 61 to 31 percent, independent (or non-party) voters say they are unlikely to vote for his re-election in California’s June 5 primary, in which the top two vote getters—regardless of party—will advance to a November runoff.

The poll doesn’t measure Rohrabacher against his long list of political challengers. Thus, Justin Wallin, a Newport Beach pollster for Republican candidates and non-partisan races, says Rohrabacher’s high name recognition and reputation as a maverick may carry him through, one more time, in the 48th District. He also said local voters don’t care a whit about Russia.

“That particular district likes to view itself as independent, and that makes Dana uniquely well suited,” Wallin says. “He is unusual, maybe even wacky. He does things where it just seems there will be political consequences and, then, this uniquely unusual person ends up victorious.”

The Congressman and his friends know a surge is swelling against him and, this time, may well take him under. But Howard Hills, an attorney and 30-year surfing buddy, says Rohrabacher has seen it before as a “live and let live surfer,” ever true to his libertarianism even as the breakers crash upon him. And politically, Hills says, “He doesn’t get rattled when the waves are big.”
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Stop Jeff Sessions From Busting Medical Marijuana, Bipartisan Lawmakers Demand

A bipartisan group of 62 members of Congress is asking House leaders to protect state medical marijuana policies and the patients and businesses that rely on them from federal enforcement agents and prosecutors.

Photo by Tom Sydow
Photo by Tom Sydow

"We respectfully request that you include language barring the Department of Justice from prosecuting those who comply with their state’s medical marijuana laws," the lawmakers, led by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), wrote in a letter sent to the top Republican and Democrat on a key House Appropriations subcommittee on Friday. "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 provision, which has been part of federal law since 2014, is a rider to appropriations legislation that prevents the Drug Enforcement Administration and other Justice Department agencies from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state policies allowing medical cannabis.



It was first approved by a House floor vote of 219-189 in 2014 and then again in 2015 by a margin of 242-186. It has also been adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee in a series of bipartisan votes.

But it is at risk of expiring soon because it only concerns individual years' spending bills and must be proactively renewed annually in order to remain in effect.

"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 2019 appropriations bill," the lawmakers wrote in the new letter.

Although federal courts have ruled that the provision protects people who are using, producing or selling medical marijuana in accordance with state laws, its language does have some ambiguities and those rulings currently only cover certain states. Accordingly, the supportive legislators want its provisions to be clarified in the new funding bill.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Well, praise the lord and fuck off, Pete Sessions. :nunchuks::torching:

Now, read the below excerpt from the letter that some of our members of Congress signed on this subject. Does this not seem both typical of those self-serving and self-centered (expletive deleted...I exceeded my quota for this post) and completely backwards? The "wishes of the American people" trump all but in this letter follows about their expressed concern that the bill adhere to the "wishes of a bipartisan majority of the members of the House". They just don't get it.

"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," 62 lawmakers wrote in a letter to House appropriations leaders last week."



Congress Protects Medical Marijuana From Jeff Sessions In New Federal Spending Bill


Medical marijuana patients and businesses that follow state laws will continue to be protected from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the federal drug agents that work for him under a provision contained in new must-pass legislation revealed on Wednesday.



The policy, which has been federal law since 2014, bars the U.S. Department of Justice from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. Its continuance was in question, however, after Sessions specifically asked Congress not to extend it and House leaders blocked a vote on the matter.

But the rider, which cleared a key Senate panel last year, is now attached to a bicameral deal to fund the federal government's operations through the rest of Fiscal Year 2018, which ends on September 30.

The latest version reads as follows:


RB language.jpg


U.S. Congress
State medical marijuana protections

The new bill, which the House is expected to vote on as soon as Thursday, also continues existing provisions shielding state industrial hemp research programs from federal interference.

In a related move, a bipartisan group of members of Congress is stepping up the push to include the medical marijuana protections in Fiscal Year 2019 spending legislation.

"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," 62 lawmakers wrote in a letter to House appropriations leaders last week.

In January, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a separate Obama-era Justice Department memo that has generally cleared the way for states to implement their own marijuana laws without federal interference.

Given that action, some members of Congress want to go even further than the current medical cannabis protections in spending legislation by adding a new provision that protects all state marijuana laws -- including those that allow recreational use and businesses -- from federal interference.

“We are concerned about the Department of Justice enforcing federal marijuana law in a way that blocks implementation of marijuana reform laws in those states that have passed such reforms,” 59 House Republicans and Democrats wrote in a separate letter on Friday. “The issue at hand is whether the federal government’s marijuana policy violates the principles of federalism and the Tenth Amendment. Consistent with those principles, we believe that states ought to retain jurisdiction over most criminal justice matters within their borders. This is how the Founders intended our system to function.”

The existing medical marijuana rider was first approved by a House floor vote of 219-189 in 2014 and then again in 2015 by a margin of 242-186. The Senate Appropriations Committee has also adopted the language in a series of bipartisan votes, most recently last summer.

The provision must be reapproved annually because it concerns restrictions on specific years' Justice Department spending legislation.

In negative news for cannabis law reform supporters, the new FY2018 omnibus spending bill extends a current ban on the Washington, D.C. using its own local funds to legalize and regulate marijuana sales. And, it does not include language approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee last year that would have allowed military veterans to receive medical cannabis recommendations through their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs doctors.

To avoid a government shutdown, Congress must pass, and President Trump must sign, the appropriations legislation by Friday at midnight.
 

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