Losing efforts sometimes score wins. Medical marijuana scored such a moral victory late Wednesday, when 163 members of Congress voted in favor of not allowing federal dollars to be spent on busting pot growers, distributors, and dispensaries in states with medical cannabis laws.
The brainchild of this effort is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), who has introduced similar measures in the past. The amendment to the Justice Department's spending bill received universal support from Bay Area Democrats, with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland); and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) voting in support it. The amendment was co-sponsored by Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel) and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove), whose district runs from the Sacramento suburbs to the Oregon and Nevada borders.
Still, the measure failed, because 262 members of the Republican-controlled Congress voiced their approval of the war on medical marijuana. Among them were 19 Californians. Most were Republicans -- but perhaps surprisingly, there were some prominent California Democrats, too.
Maxine Waters and Dennis Cardoza, we're talking about you.
Rohrabacher's amendment is seen as one way to force President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to keep their promises not to use Justice Department resources to prosecute or arrest state-legal medical marijuana providers or suppliers. If they won't hold true, or if the U.S. Attorneys who announced the statewide crackdown on medical cannabis in October are going rogue, Drug War opponents can go straight for their wallets.