By Steve Elliott
GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Democratic Rep. Sam Farr, both of California, are once again offering a bipartisan amendment on the House floor to protect states' rights when it comes to marijuana.
Rohrabacher and Farr have brought up the amendment several times, most recently in 2012, when it was defeated 162-262, reports Emily Ethridge at Roll Call. Since that vote, four more staters -- Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maryland -- have allowed medical marijuana, bringing the total to 21 states and the District of Columbia.
Advocates expect the strongest vote yet when the fiscal 2015 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations measure, HR 4660, comes to the House floor in a few weeks.
The chief provision of the amendment which will be offered to the appropriations bill would prohibit the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers who are in compliance with their state laws.
The House has already voted on similar amendments six times since 2003, with about 150 to 160 votes in support each time. An unusual coalition of social liberals, who see it as a civil rights issue, and conservatives, who see it as a states' rights issue, back the amendment.