CA NORML Legislative News

CA Congressional Delegation Votes 33-19 Against Federal War on Medical Marijuana

Jul 23, 2003: The California congressional delegation registered impressive support for medical marijuana in today's landmark Congressional vote on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment to prevent the Department of Justice from interfering in state medical marijuana laws.

Although the amendment was defeated by a vote of 153-272 in the House, the California delegation voted 33-19 in defense of California's medical marijuana law. The vote was largely on party lines, with Democrats lining up 30-2 in support, and Republicans 16-3 in opposition.

Libertarian-leaning Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach admirably led the Republican support with an impassioned speech on behalf of medical marijuana. He was joined by Rep. Mary Bono (who has taken a lot of heat from her Palm Beach constituents), and Rep. Bill Thomas, the crusty Bakersfield committee chairman who has some independent ideas about drug policy.

Notable among the sea of hard-core Republican opponents was governor-wannabe Rep. Darrell Issa, leader of the Davis recall campaign.

Under the leadership of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the state's Democrats lined up solidly in support of the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment. Two exceptions were Democratic congressmen Dennis Cardoza of Merced (emulating the law-and-order conservatism of his predecessor Gary Condit), and Joe Baca of San Bernardino. Rep. George Miller, a known supporter of medical marijuana, was absent for the vote.

Among Democratic Presidential candidates, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH) voted in favor of the Hinchey/Rohrabacher amendment, while Rep. Richard Gephardt (MO) was absent for the vote.

All in all, an impressive show of political strength by medical marijuana & Prop 215 supporters. Thanks for the many faxes and phone calls generated by NORML members and friends.

CA NORML 2215-R Market St. #278 San Francisco CA 94114 (415) 563-5858