Finally! Some Bipartisan Support for the 10th Amendment

Early Friday morning, the House passed an important amendment to the  appropriations bill for Commerce, Science, Justice and Related Agencies. As Billy House reports (National Journal):

Using states’ rights as a bipartisan rallying cry, the House voted 219 to 189 early Friday to prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to conduct raids or otherwise interfere with medical marijuana activities that are legal in the states.

The amendment, which was sponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), passed with the support of 49 Republicans and 170 Democrats.

“Despite overwhelming shift in public opinion, the federal government continues its hard line of oppression against medical marijuana,” Rohrabacher said. But he said the Drug Enforcement Administration would be blocked from using any money in this appropriations bill to conduct raids on state-legal medical marijuana operations or dispensaries, or otherwise interfere with state medical marijuana laws or doctors or patients abiding by them.

One might have hoped that more Republicans would have dusted off their support for the 10th amendment to cast a yea vote. But GOP support was far weaker when similar amendments were offered in the past (there have been six failed attempts since 2003). As the Marijuana Policy Project’s Dan Riffle (Reason) notes: “This measure passed because it received more support from Republicans than ever before…It is refreshing to see conservatives in Congress sticking to their conservative principles when it comes to marijuana policy. Republicans increasingly recognize that marijuana prohibition is a failed Big Government program that infringes on states’ rights.”

These days you take victories—even small ones—wherever you can find them. On to the dark hole of the Senate!

2 thoughts on “Finally! Some Bipartisan Support for the 10th Amendment

  1. It appears this will still leave Colorado and Washington open to DEA raids on legal non-medical marijuana sales.

    I do agree with the basic amendment though. Those who argue that laws like Obamacare are nowhere in the Constitution conveniently forget that making a substance illegal is also not in the constitution.

  2. Professor Eisner,

    I agree with approximately 99% of your posts but I think you’ve got this one precisely backwards.

    The acid test of whether you are observing “true principle” or a “rhetorical BS” is whether you are willing to follow a certain principle when it would lead you to support the interests of your erstwhile adversaries. When normally conservative school choice advocates are willing to support the rights of hippie “unschoolers” or private Africana-Studies academies, they are demonstrating true principle. When the ACLU defends the rights of NAZIs to march in Skokie or the rights of groups like Citizens United or individuals like les frères Koch, they are similarly demonstrating true principle.

    The Republican caucus voted by over 3.5-to-1 against the 10th Amendment.

    If you can’t stand behind your principles when the lives of MS/cancer/glaucoma patients are at stake, then you have none.

    Personally, I can never vote for any party that is over 75% opposed to children with seizures.

    So the Republican party is bereft of principles.

    Actually, that’s the charitable intrepretation. More realistically, their “principle” is that they hate young people, hippies, and joy. Is it any wonder that their base is quickly headed for the graveyard?

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