Pot Bills Stalled Despite Increased Support

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)


Even though Senate support for a medical marijuana bill is building, it’s not getting the backing it needs to advance.  

McConnell Uses Clout to Help Hemp Industry

McConnell wants to expand the market for industrial hemp grown in Kentucky. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may be the best friend in Washington for the nascent industrial hemp industry.  

The Kentucky Republican announced Thursday he had secured hemp-processing language in an Agriculture Department spending bill.  

Senators Call for More From Feds on Medical Marijuana Research

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It's high time to look closer at medical marijuana research, eight Democratic senators wrote in a letter sent Monday to several departments in the federal government.  

Acknowledging that 23 states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana use and an additional 15 states allow cannabadiol  all without federal involvement  the senators argue that the federal government has an "opportunity and a responsibility to craft a sensible research and public health strategy that allows us to generate meaningful data and conclusions." The letter, sent to heads of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, also applauds a recent decision by the Obama administration to streamline the medical marijuana research approval process.  

Toomey Applauds Medical Marijuana Research

Toomey backs a streamlined process for medical marijuana research. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Obama administration's decision to streamline medical marijuana research Monday drew praise from Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, one of the more endangered Republicans up in 2016.  

According to The Washington Post , eliminating the Public Health Service review from research proposals will cut an additional layer of bureaucracy from an already onerous process. While senators' positions  on medical marijuana are still evolving, Toomey's love for streamlining governmental procedures and cutting duplicative programs is tried and true.  

Marijuana Bill Gains Steam in Senate

Boxer is latest to back medical marijuana legislation in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When it comes to pot, political winds may be shifting in the Senate.  

Joining a new generation of senators such as Cory Booker, D-N.J., Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., veteran Democrat Barbara Boxer has added her name to a bill rolled out on March 10 aimed at protecting state medical marijuana operations from federal interference while rescheduling the drug. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley did not rule out taking up the legislation in his committee, and one of the Iowa Republican's allies in the war on drugs said she is reviewing the measure.  

Senate Trio Launches Medical Marijuana Effort

Booker greets four-year-old Morgan Hintz. (Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

It isn't every day that a child can steal the show from three of the Senate's most visible members.  

But that's what happened when Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York joined with Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky in unveiling legislation to reschedule marijuana to make it more available for medicinal and research purposes. Four-year-old Morgan Hintz had at least two minor seizures just during the course of the news conference around lunchtime Tuesday. Her mother Kate said the seizures were an almost daily regular occurrence, and that's what got her into advocating for expanded access to marijuana and its components for medical use.  

10 Questions for Eric Holder's Replacement as Attorney General

Cruz, left, and Sessions both sit on the Judiciary Committee and will have a change to grill the nominee for attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Eric H. Holder Jr.’s replacement as attorney general will face a grilling from the Senate Judiciary Committee after the elections, with the position key to enabling President Barack Obama’s pen-and-phone executive agenda and with numerous hot-button issues under the purview of the Justice Department.  

The nominee to replace Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who is also leaving, will also face much the same treatment.  

Senator: Protect Gun Rights of Medical Marijuana Users

Walsh was sworn in on Feb. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you use marijuana in a state that has legalized pot for medicinal purposes, Sen. John Walsh wants to make sure you don't lose your guns.  

The Democratic senator from Montana, appointed earlier this year and facing a difficult race on Nov. 4, has filed an amendment to a spending package being considered on the Senate floor.