Sen. Dianne Feinstein on marijuana

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A member of our audience contacted Sen.Dianne Feinstein asking about her stance on cannabis legalization. Below is her reply.

Dianne Feinstein takes time 4 hemp

Subject: Us Senator Feinsteins words on MMJ

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for medical marijuana. It is important for me to hear from you, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

On June 11, 2015, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (H.R. 2578). Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) offered an amendment to the bill that would prohibit Department of Justice from using funds to prevent the implementation of state laws authorizing the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. While I voted against the amendment, you may be pleased to know that it passed by a vote of 21-9. H.R. 2578 was passed out of the Appropriations Committee and is awaiting consideration by the full Senate.

Please know that I believe it is important to conduct further research on the potential medical benefits of marijuana and wrote to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, asking them to consider revising overly burdensome restrictions, which may inhibit such research. In the Department of Justice's response, it stated that it was "fully committed to supporting lawful research involving marijuana and CBD" and that the Drug Enforcement Administration would conduct a scientific and medical evaluation of CBD. I was pleased to hear this and have included a copy of the letter, should you wish to read it.

However, while I support the compassionate use of medical marijuana when prescribed by a physician for certain serious illnesses, I also believe that states must have strong regulatory systems in place to prevent youth marijuana use, rogue dispensaries, and ensure public safety, amongst other things.

In August 2013, the Department of Justice announced that it would not block state laws legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington. It also highlighted eight areas priority enforcement areas related to marijuana. It is important to note that, as a result of these priorities, the Department is not currently prosecuting the average medical marijuana user. However, in its memo, the Department reserved the right to challenge a state if it does not have a strong regulatory system in place. Senator Mikulski's amendment could prevent the Department from enforcing federal law in states that lack a strong regulatory system for medical marijuana.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write. If you have any additional comments or questions, please feel free to contact my Washington, D.C. staff by calling (202) 224-3841 or visit my website at

Sincerely yours,
Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the nation are available at my website, . And please visit my YouTube , Facebook and Twitter for more ways to communicate with me.