1. The Vote
  2. The Amendment
  3. Reactions
  4. Related Links
I. The Vote

The Associated Press reported in a June 28, 2006 article "House OKs Medical Pot Prosecutions" by Andrew Taylor:

"The House on Wednesday [June 28, 2006] voted to continue to allow federal prosecution of those who smoke marijuana for medical purposes in states with laws that permit it...

By a 259-163 vote, the House again turned down an amendment that would have blocked the Justice Department from prosecuting people in the 11 states with such medical marijuana laws... The vote came as the House debated a $59.8 billion bill covering the departments of Commerce, Justice and State."
June 28, 2006 Associated Press

II. The Amendment

"An amendment to prohibit the use of funds from being made available to prevent the States of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Rhode Island, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington from implementing State laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana, and directing the Attorney General to transfer from available appropriations for the current fiscal year for the Department of Justice any amounts that would have been used for such purpose but for this section to the Drug Enforcement Administration to assist State and local law enforcement with proper removal and disposal of hazardous materials from illegal methamphetamine labs, including funding for training, technical assistance, a container program, and purchase of equipment to adequately remove and store hazardous material."


Republican 18 206 6

Democrat 144 53 4

Independent 1 0 0

TOTALS 163 259 10

III. Reactions:

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), one of the co-sponsors of the amendment [along with Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)], stated in a June 28, 2006 press release issued by his office:

"People who are dying and suffering in states where medical marijuana is legal should be able to use the drug under a doctor's supervision to ease their pain without having to worry that the federal government is going to bust down their door and arrest them. It is immoral to deny people access to medicine that can help relieve their pain and suffering. We will continue our fight in Congress to protect medical marijuana users and doctors in states that allow such use. This is a battle that must be won....

In no way does this amendment seek to legalize marijuana for general use. We simply want people to have access to marijuana for medicinal purposes if their state allows it and their doctor thinks it will help ease their pain and suffering. If a state determines that medical marijuana should be legal then the federal government should leave patients and doctors in those states alone."
June 28, 2006Maurice Hinchey

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), one of the co-sponsors of the amendment, stated in a June 28, 2006 Associated Press article:

"If the voters have seen to it and a doctor agrees, it's a travesty for the government to intercede... to get in the way of someone using something to alleviate their suffering. This is something that should be left to the states as American tradition dictates."
June 28, 2006 Dana Rohrabacher

Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA), who opposed the amendment, stated in a June 28, 2006 Associated Press article:

"Marijuana is not harmless as some claim... Marijuana continues to be the most widely abused drug in the United States."
June 28, 2006 Tom Latham

Bruce Mirken, Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), stated in a June 29, 2006 article in the Tri-Valley Herald:

"Virtually all of the debate from the other side [NAY votes] had nothing to do with the amendment itself. It was all about marijuana being bad for kids and a gateway drug... all of which has nothing to do with whether is should be allowed for patients with cancer or AIDS when their states decide it should be."
June 29, 2006 Bruce Mirken

Eric Voth, MD, stated in a June 28, 2006 press release from the Drug Free America Foundation:

"First the Supreme Court, and now Congress has upheld the long-established scientific fact that marijuana is not medicine, and it reaffirms that medicine by popular vote is a dangerous process that bypasses the FDA, reduces consumer protections and jeopardizes sick patients," noted Eric A. Voth, MD, FACP, chairman of the Institute on Global Drug Policy. "There has been much disinformation about so-called medical marijuana, but the truth is, it's an extremely harmful drug that can put the future of our children at risk."
June 28, 2006 Eric Voth

Rep. David Obey (D-WI) stated during the June 28, 2006 debate on the House floor:

"If I am terminally ill, it is not anybody's business on this floor how I handle the pain or the illness or the sickness associated with that illness. With all due respect to all of you, butt out. I did not enter this world with the permission of the Justice Department, and I am certainly not going to depart it by seeking their permission or that of any other authority.

The Congress has no business telling people that they cannot manage their illness or their pain any way they need to. I would trust any doctor in the country before I trust some of the daffy ducks in this institution to decide what I am supposed to do if I am terminally ill...

When is this Congress going to recognize that individuals in their private lives have a right to manage their problems as they see fit without the permission of the big guy in the White House or the big guy in the Justice Department or any of the Lilliputians on this Congressional floor? Wake up!"
June 28, 2006 David Obey

IV. Related Links:
A. 2005 House of Representatives Vote on Hinchey Amendment

B. 2004 House of Representatives Vote on Hinchey Amendment