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.  

Paul, Booker and Gillibrand Set to Unveil Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Marijuana at a Colorado dispensary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A bipartisan trio of senators has planned a Tuesday rollout for legislation to remove federal legal barriers to the use of medical marijuana.  

Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey are set to join Kentucky Republican Rand Paul for the event, shortly after noon. The new bill would make it so that medical professionals and their patients involved in the use of marijuana and cannabidiol oils for medicinal purposes would not run the risk of running afoul of federal laws.  

Rand Paul: Let D.C. Legalize Marijuana, If Voters Want

Paul votes on Election Day at Briarwood Elementary School in Bowling Green. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — As District of Columbia voters are seemingly poised to approve a ballot item to allow cultivation and possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use, the Republican in charge of a subpanel with D.C. oversight says home rule should prevail.  

"I think there should be a certain amount of discretion for both states and territories and the District, you know," Sen. Rand Paul said outside his polling place at an elementary school here. "I think really that when we set up our country, we intended that most crime or not crime, things that we determined to be crime or not crimes, was really intended to be determined by localities."  

Holder Testifies Before House Judiciary: What You Missed (Video) (Updated)

Marijuana, accusations of perjury, election integrity and asparagus were the range of topics covered in Tuesday's House Judiciary Committee hearing.  Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the committee in a hearing designed for oversight on the Department of Justice. Holder and members of the committee had some tense exchanges as congressmen tried to nail down the attorney general on specific enforcement of laws. Check out Roll Call's top moments below:  

Hoyer Suggests He's Smoked Pot, Backs Maryland Decriminalization Effort

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 2:30 p.m. | Two high-ranking Maryland Democrats said they support Gov. Martin O’Malley’s decision to sign a bill decriminalizing recreational marijuana in the state.  

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said there are too many people in prison or with a criminal record for using marijuana, something many people have done. And he suggested he's among them.  

Lawmakers Ask Obama to Scale Back Pot Punishments (Video)

House Democrats are seeking to amp up the pressure on President Barack Obama to use his now-infamous "phone and pen" to do more than just raise the minimum wage for federal workers: They want him to aid in the reclassification of marijuana.  

On Wednesday, 17 Democrats — and Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California — sent a letter to Obama asking that he "instruct" Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. "to delist or classify marijuana in a more appropriate way, at the very least eliminating it from Schedule I or II."

House Republicans to Challenge Obama's Mixed Signals on Marijuana

Mica scheduled a hearing about the White House's comments on the use of marijuana. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The same day President Barack Obama suggested to CNN's Jake Tapper that revising the nation's marijuana policies is a task for Congress, a House panel announced it would hold a hearing on the White House's "mixed signals" on the drug.  

"The administration's schizophrenic messaging and enforcement related to the commercial use of marijuana has left the states and law enforcement in a difficult and untenable position," said Rep. John L. Mica, R-Fla., who is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations. "With the president's recent remarks, we need to find out where the administration is heading."  

McConnell Takes Credit for Hemp Provision in Farm Bill (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:36 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is taking credit for one provision in the five-year farm bill : industrial hemp, having led an effort to insert expanded language in the conference report.  

Kentucky has enacted industrial hemp legislation at the state level. A source familiar with the negotiations said the expanded language was drafted in McConnell's office and inserted at his behest.