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House Amendment No. 674 (A032): Amends H.R. 3093 - Making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, and Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending Sep. 30, 2008, and for other purposes.
SPONSOR: Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] (offered July 25, 2007)
AMENDMENT PURPOSE: An amendment to prohibit the use of funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to certain states, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.
STATUS: July 25, 2007 8:31 pm: Amendment (A032) offered by Mr. Hinchey. July 25, 2007 10:51 pm: Failed by recorded vote: 165 - 262 (Roll no. 733).
II. General Reference(not clearly pro or con)
The Associated Press, wrote the following in a July 27, 2007 article titled "New Ga. Congressman Bucks GOP in Vote on Medical Marijuana":
"A dozen states have passed laws allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. But the Justice Department has continued to enforce federal laws barring the drug, with the Drug Enforcement Administration raiding clinics across the country.
Wednesday's amendment, from Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., would prohibit the Justice Department from spending any money to prosecute people who use or distribute marijuana for medical purposes in states that have approved its use." July 27, 2007 - Associated Press
III. Pros & Cons - Arguments & Reactions
PRO Hinchey Amendment
Maurice Hinchey, U.S. Representative (D-NY) and co-sponsor of the amendment, stated in a July 25, 2007 press release issued by his office:
"It is unconscionable to me that the federal government would seek to not only deny, but arrest and prosecute, medical marijuana patients who are using the drug in accordance with state law to relieve pain and nausea associated with debilitating illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis. What we tried to do on the House floor tonight was protect those patients and their doctors from unfair and inhumane efforts by the federal government to deny them the medicine they need." July 25, 2007 - Maurice Hinchey
Paul Broun, MD, US Representative (R-GA), in a July 26, 2007 statement to the press, said:
"As I promised on the campaign trail, I would make the Constitution my primary guide on how I voted on all matters. [The vote] was a constitutional issue pertaining to 'restraining' the federal government from interfering with the right of states to establish public policy on matters not specifically addressed by the Constitution."
"This will be the fifth time that the House has considered the [Hinchey] amendment in as many years. Each time the House has rejected the amendment by a considerable margin.
The FDA has approved Marinol... but that's not good enough for the drug legalizers, who are using 'medical' marijuana as a front for their broader drug legalization efforts. They want to smoke marijuana, call it medicine, and stop the federal government from doing anything about it. They're currently lobbying Congress to circumvent the FDA by passing an amendment barring federal law enforcement from enforcing our drug laws. If they have their way, politics will trump science." July 23, 2007 - Martin Green
Jerry McNerney, PhD, US Representative (D-CA), in a statement issued July 26, 2007, said:
"I have spoken to many law enforcement officials concerned about the effect of drug use on our communities, particularly in San Joaquin County. The problem is real. Just yesterday, Stockton police announced a successful drug sweep -- in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies -- that led to 51 arrests and the seizure of more than 12 pounds of illegal substances. We are facing a drug crisis with meth and other drug use on the rise. Until we get a handle on the crippling drug use in our society, I cannot support the relaxation of current drug policy." July 26, 2007 - Jerry McNerney
IV. 2007 Final Vote Totals in House (as per the official vote tally of the U.S. House of Representatives)
Republicans Bachus (R-AL)
Davis, Jo Ann (R-VA)
Votes Switched from 2006 to 2007
Nine members voted 'Yes' on the amendment in 2006 then switched their votes to 'No' in 2007:
Three members voted 'No' on the amendment in 2006 then switched their votes to 'Yes' in 2007: Emanuel (D-IL)