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In Rebuke to Sessions, Senate Committee OKs Medical Marijuana Protections

July 27, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions waits to make a statement in this March 6, 2017, photo. (Susan Walsh/AP)
The Senate Appropriations approved an amendment to protect state medical marijuana patients this morning, delivering a setback to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In May, Sessions delivered a letter to Congress specifically requesting that leaders reject that budget amendment, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.

The amendment, led by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), passed in a voice vote with strong Republican support. During the hearing, Leahy said this in support of the amendment:

“29 states and the District of Columbia have decided it’s more humane to regulate medical marijuana than to criminalize it. Almost every state—46 right now, and counting—regulate the use of a marijuana derivative that is used to treat epilepsy and other rare medical conditions. I think just about every member on this committee represents a state with patients who would be protected under this amendment. The federal government can’t investigate everything. And shouldn’t. And I don’t want them spending money pursuing medical marijuana patients who are following state law, whether they’re an epileptic or whatever they might be.”

The amendment, originally known as Rohrabacher-Farr, has been adopted by Congress through budgetary actions every year since 2014. It prevents the Department of Justice from using any funds to undermine state medical marijuana laws. The Justice Department is the parent agency of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); it also oversees federal prosecutors around the nation.


Congress Pushes to Renew Rohrabacher-Farr Patient Protections

The amendment still must pass as part of the final appropriations bill, but the Appropriations Committee vote is seen as a strong signal that Republican leaders are dismissing Sessions’ request.

Michael Collins, deputy director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s office of national affairs, called the vote “a huge win for the marijuana reform movement.” In the face of pressure from the Trump Administration, Collins said, “the Senate has opted to block Jeff Sessions from interfering with any medical marijuana law.”


The Haymaker: Will Trump Fire Sessions by the Time You Finish This Headline?

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Bruce Barcott

Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.

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  • One of the few laudable actions from this congress…

    • above god

      The only one!

  • lovingc

    It is about time, now if we can get the committees chair people to allow a hearing for the cannabis bills that are waiting we might get the unconstitutional law off our backs. Grassly is one of the worst stumbling blocks. He and his ilk need to be talked to by the right people. These living fossils should be at home where they can do less damage to the country.

    • Gary Craig

      As is Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat. She’s an old time drug warrior. She is absolutely for cannabis. Oops! I meant cannabis prohibition. Another one that needs to go. Like Grassley she’ll stick around indefinitely.

    • Grizzly59

      Get some good candidates to run against them and Kick those bought off paid off dogshits to the curb where they belong!

  • Jerry Schull

    And lets not forget Sessions is pushing the unConstitutional, essentially government sponsored and administered THEFT, Civil Asset Forfeiture law. This law should be repealed ASAP so that no further harm comes to innocent people whose only crime is having a lot of cash on them.

    • John Rah

      Talk about some dirty ….shit…….this is basically what cops have been doing for years…….this basically give dirty cops a raise!

    • lovingc

      The fifth amendment to the constitution of the united states of America!
      No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

  • Intellectualist

    Urge Trump to fire Sessions. The conservatives need to burn in their own “holy hell” so the rest of us can be rid of them.

  • Tommy brooks


    • JAM661

      We may have to do that especially if Trump gets protected by the Republicans even after Mueller confirms what we already know and nothing is done by them to get him out of office. I think when everything comes out we will be seeing a lot of people resign or decide not to run for office again .

      • Legalize420

        We can only hope…

    • Jackson Shredder

      Count me in !!!

  • Tommy brooks


    • James Brandon

      Liz Chenny,you have proved your about as worthless as your dad the war crimial number one.Your dad sent us over there and now your behind the killing of a bill that would have helped many vets out.Are you as dumb as your dad? Vets are tried of dieing of opuim addiction and frying their brains with anti-psycotic medications.You just pissed off a group of people that your dad and his partner in crime bush put over there and now your making sure we cant get a non-addicting weed.What a bitch!

  • JAM661

    It would be insane to all of sudden pull Medical Marijuana from states who have made it legal. Also it would take away money away from the states they need to pay to set up the programs to begin with. When you make policy changes especially one that effects so many people it effects states finances and jobs. Also something like this should not be allowed to be changed on a whim because Sessions does not like medical marijuana. Baically you can allow
    people to get their medical marijuana where the patient knows the thc levels or people will just buy it on the street with no regulations meaning someone could by marijuana that is laced with some deadly substance or people just decide to grow their own plant or two for personal us.
    Sessions thinks he is in the time period of 1830 when the South was grand. The only problem because of slavery and racism the Sounth has never been very grand at all and neither has Sessions. I would say get Sessions out but I dont want Trump with a new AG who will end up firing Mueller.

    • Gary Craig

      I could/would never, ever live in a southern state. Not ever!!

      • Stormy Skyy

        I don’t even want to vacation and spend my money there .. I have a hard time listening to country music, Knowing what filth comes from the south and their beliefs and practices … Ugh.. They are the ugly Cancer of America…

        • Kevin Williams

          Arm pit of America.

          • Stormy Skyy

            And, they think they smell of Peaches, Roses and God… Jokes on Them… Lol.. 😅

      • lovingc

        I will never live in the snow. You snow birds are stupid!

        • Gary Craig

          I live in Maryland, not exactly a “snowbird” state. Also I’m not stupid. Maybe, talking about the south, Lincoln should have let the 11 Confederate states secede. Might have been a whole lot better. At least for the northern states!

          • lovingc

            Any one that lives in snow is stupid in my opinion. One thing for sure you don’t know history. The civil war was egged on by the British they thought they could get their colonies back. So if the southern states had bee allowed to secede that would have wakened the country to the point we could not prevent an other invasion from Europe.These fools in the south were lost in a vision of privilege that was a lie. .

    • lovingc

      That is Trump’s wet dream, but if the fool does it it will start the end of his presidency.

  • John Rah

    Republicans in the House Rules Committee last week still struck down Veteran Pot last week…..after the Senate and the House passed it last year….and AGAIN its always crusty ass Republican’s who are getting paid under the table by Big Pharmacy names like Phizer, Bristol Myers, or Johnson and Johnson to turn down every marijuana advancement possible. Last year was a Done deal but a Republican senator Mark Kirk out of Chicago..who lost in the last election oddly enough to Tammy it removed while nobody was watching from the Vet Budget Bill 2017……the Republican members of the House Rules Committee are…….
    Pete Sessions, Texas’s 32nd, Chairman
    Tom Cole, Oklahoma’s 4th, Vice-Chairman
    Rob Woodall, Georgia’s 7th
    Michael C. Burgess, Texas’s 26th
    Doug Collins, Georgia’s 9th
    Bradley Byrne, Alabama’s 1st
    Dan Newhouse, Washington’s 4th
    Ken Buck, Colorado’s 4th
    Liz Cheney, Wyoming’s at-large
    Rob Woodall, Georgia
    Rich Nugent, Florida


    • bk

      Gotta vote those as she outta there. Need to go blue or independent across the country in response to the 2016 presidential election and other state elections where the bunch of racist assholes bka republican racked up! If we want to see this thing legalized we gotta get off our asses and make it happen because as long as this country is being ran by a bunch of inconsiderate racist older white men it’s not happening! Vote anything other than red!

      • Grizzly59

        Independent votes get you another four years of tRUMP, or worse yet 2nd in line, the Penis from Indiana.. who would throw everyone in prison. Do away with any civil rights for women and minorities and more or less install a hyper Xstian fifedom. Nix on those independent candidates that would divide the vote three ways so that the margins are close enough to rig and steal it again. Putin will be back. He has said as much..

    • Norman Hirsch

      agree. they are not clowns though, they are dangerous individuals who care less about the health of their constituents than sucking up to big Pharma.

      • Kathleen Barrow-Cole

        We need to get it voted in we’re people like me and other people who need it instead of taking pills that don’t work! This is better for you anyway! As long as your not smoking it to get highbut to stop the chronic pain or what ever the diagnosis you have to take it for to help you that is all that matters here! There are patients like me or patients who have cancer or seizures, etc that can use this type of treatment to get thru the day and live a better life! If you have a hearty would you want to live in pain and suffering for the rest of your life? I don’t think so!!! They need to put themselves in our shoes and live with the pain and suffering where pills are never a answer to anything especially when the pills don’t work for everyone!!!

      • Sue Nia Diyg

        Basically, that makes them AssClowns, @Norman

      • Gorgonzola

        …and should be killed.

    • Todd Burgess

      If voting worked as planned, we would not be talking about it. Money changes perspectives and intentions alike. Once in office, things change. If that were not the case, we wouldn’t be talking about it.
      Removing enticements, lobbying, bribes and the like, restores integrity which is sorely needed in government.

  • 1Finngal

    I am thrilled!

  • Skankherder

    This is all a mess. With the way things are going brorightguard might just be planning a coup…. you’ve seen his beady lil eyes. He reminds me of the cat next to the fishbowl trying to play inocent as you are going out the door to church . It’s one thing to look like a chew bone, but to be used as a chew bone In front of America probably hurts his little feelers a bit …..i am privy to he and pinky stayin up at night making plans to take over the world……SOS

  • Garrett Kirk

    this is greatly appreciated news. Hope Sessions is fired soon along with all the drug war dinosaurs.

  • Kevin Williams

    Good for them, should be nation wide. And the one finger salute to Sessions I consider a bonus.

  • karen berry

    This is stupid. You and I can do MMJ but the vets cant. They are just messing with Sessions because on the other hand they have blocked the VA from letting our vets get and MMJ card.

    • 143jeanne

      My vet friend has had a card since Ca. started.2007 I think.

  • sharkguitar

    I’ve always been way ahead of the times. I’ve been smoking medical marijuana for 48 years. It keeps a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Booze makes a man feel sick, poor and stupid. Jeff “Goober” Sessions is a pathetic loser.

    • Kathleen Barrow-Cole

      Hell we need to get a petition together and stand for our rights! I’m all for making this legal!

  • disqus_AIK0V2HTNb

    I live in Alabama where Medical Marijuana will probably be the last place to be legal. I can’t understand why people in Alabama keep voting the same ole politicians in every time. I wish Marijuana would be taken off the Controlled Substance List and become legal in every State. I would move to another State if I could. It’s a shame people are forced to move just to be able to have Medical Marijuana. My family certainly don’t want Sessions back in Alabama. Trump should fire him as Attorney General.

    • Kathleen Barrow-Cole

      They are idiots is your answer

    • Excuse me

      You might want to consider that the Cannabis issue is not the only one on the table. Sessions is doing many appropriate things related to border security and enforcement, and returning the nation to some bit of order after 8 years of Holder and Lynch. (Unless you prefer allowing people who’s very first act in the nation is to enter as a criminal, then in many cases make livelihoods out of crime, and murder innocent US citizens…)
      Besides, Cannabis is slowly transcending political viewpoints. It will eventually be decriminalized and rescheduled at the Federal level.

      • John Rah

        Yeah well…President Trump just tweeted…Jeff Sessions is an “Idiot”. ..I have no further questions your honor…lol

        • Excuse me

          And his viewpoint is now important to you?

          • John Rah

            Not really….just wanted to point out…actually that there are 2 idiots instead of one.

      • Tammy Page

        I understand that Sessions has more to consider then Marijuana, however, where are the investigations into the former Obama Administration? Seems to me that Sessions is only concerned about what HE thinks is important. With that being said, Medical Marijuana is a agenda that Sessions is hell bent on opposing any type of legalizing Cannabis.

  • Jx Px

    The problem is that the way the system is set up so that we, the “citizens”, which is not something I would like to be anymore, are declared “insane”, “dead”, or “lost at sea” from the jump when your born. Which means that our fraudulent government has the “right to your estate and property” unless you declare and prove that you are alive and well and competent to manage your “estate”. So they can legally take whatever they want from you whenever they want until you do this. However this process is not only kept quiet and can only be done by someone willing to put the work, time, and effort in, it is also extremely difficult and has consequences. It is the reason though that they can seize assets with no evidence of wrongdoing. Because as a “citizen” you are not innocent until proven guilty. You don’t even have the right to a fair trial. You are a product of the system that can be used, traded, and discarded as they see fit. And your parents unknowingly signed you up for this when you were born by signing your birth certificate. I don’t claim to be an expert in any way shape or form on these matters. In fact I have been studying all this for a few months and still feel like I have only scratched the surface. As I understand it right now though this pretty much started when Lincoln was president and has been getting crazier ever since. I highly urge you to look up Lincoln, the civil war, and martial law that has never gone away since. Also look up sovereign citizens, strawman, and creditors and debtors. Knowledge is power. Jeff sessions blows! The United States Inc. Government is a bunch of criminals masquerading as politicians and military brass. I’m just saying…

  • TheWizardofAhs

    Trump is strongly pro-Medical Marijuana and wants the decisions left to the states. This is just one of his issues with Sessions.

    • Kathleen Barrow-Cole

      Screw that make it legal in every state and screw what the state reps want

  • glorpthesmelly

    AWWWW……Poor poor little Jefferson Beauregard “Ratface” Sessions. He and White Trash President Trump have had just a horrible week.

    Here’s hoping the traitorous bastards have many more of the same

    Personally, I’m going to sit back, take some bong hits and enjoy the carnage being created by the current Republican war of the Vultures vs the Hyenas.

    At least if they’re busy eviscerating each other, they won’t have time to do too much more damage to the country.

    • Gary Craig

      I wish I could take a few hits. Unfortunately I live in Maryland. No dispensaries and NO connections. This 59 y/o will be smoking/vaping nada! Teens have an easier time finding cannabis than, some, older folks. Like myself. It should not be this way.

  • Tonya Masters

    If they would make it legal, no one at the white house would have anything to bitch about and would have all that extra time to solve our other problems and issues that are put on the back burner or ignored. Such as that little slant eyed midget with the funny hair cut running North Korea. In my opinion he is a lot more dangerous than marijuana.

  • Mike Orange

    the government wants to stop pepole from using the miracle plant ,big pharmacy aka federal government paid and bought by corporate America baby pills and opiates for everybody Yeaaaaaaaa I wish pepole would wake the f up

  • Mike Orange

    How is tabacco legal wtf cancer sugar obesity heart problems stroke alcohol same thing drinking and driving killing pepole daily weed never killed anybody wtf

  • 360dunk

    Why would Sessions oppose medical marijuana in the first place?

    Answer: Because he’s never felt the pain and agony of a terrible disease like cancer, MS, Alzheimer’s, osteo-arthritis, epilepsy, or a dozen others.

    • Kathleen Barrow-Cole

      I have a idea put him thru pain and then he will change his mind lol

  • Chaddy Liquor Tits

    This comment has been deleted by Leafly’s moderators

  • Kathleen Barrow-Cole

    U agree 10000000000000000%


    Glad to hear it. Sessions is not friend to the common man and personal freedom. He needs to be ousted.

  • Charles hammer
  • Torrytorana62

    Sessions has lost his personal vendetta with trying to implement restriction or his closed minded interfering with the humble weed plant….so glad trees dont get ya high….they would cut them “all” down!….
    So glad to see the back of ya sess…we need deep thinking politicians, not closed minded ancient gasbags….

  • Gorgonzola

    The sooner Sessions is DEAD DEAD DEAD, the better I’ll like it.

  • Silverado

    These drug warriors are an evil lot. Surely part of the…”enemies within” even the Founders warned us about over 200 years ago. But I think Jeff Sessions is going to tied up with crooked Hillary investigations, crooked FBI lawyer leaker investigations, and crooked DNC investigations that will consume a lot of their time and effort. Which means they’ll be otherwise occupied and won’t have time for nonsensical and nonexistent medical cannabis “problems” worthy of the swamp’s attention. And if they decided to go after “recreational” cannabis because of the thousands of new jobs like here in Washington state in the cannabis industry, Donald and Co. would look like a bunch of radical right wing (or populist) hypocrites and they KNOW it. That’s why they’re not going to bother legal and highly regulated cannabis like here in this state and all others where it’s legal, regulated and heavily taxed. It’s also massively produced in this state which keeps prices unbelievably low. Black market killing low which is yet another reason state govt is hooked…I mean…enjoys collecting millions and millions of tax dollars on all things cannabis.

  • Leroy Mosley

    Lol corporations have more rights than you do . I am for medical marijuana have a card myself for my aches and pains. But this is what we get when we let politicians take bribes from corporations via lobbying. Get rid of all lobbyist out of Washington D.C.

  • Bruce Wayne

    Fu Jeff Sessions

  • Mary Hirsch-Jones

    Sessions is completely out of touch! He is the face of racist conservatism lacking facts, craving power, and misinforming the ignorant. He needs to get high!

  • There’s enough push back such that things should continuously move in the correct direction over time. This seems no different.