Compiled by Colorado Citizens for Compassionate Cannabis
With information from:
October 25, 1998
STATUS: Floor Actions
08/31/98 Placed on calendar in Senate (CR S9682)
08/07/98 Measure passed House, amended, roll call #416 (214-206) (8/6/98 CR H7401)
08/07/98 Measure considered in House (8/6/98 CR H7397-7401)
08/06/98 Measure considered in House (CR H7335-7397)
08/06/98 Measure called up by special rule (H. Res. 517) in House (CR H7335)
08/03/98 Reported to House from the Committee on Appropriations, H. Rept. 105-670 (CR H6999)
Aug 6, 98 Amendment Offered by Representative Barr.
Aug 6, 98 On agreeing to the Barr amendment (A011) Agreed to by voice vote.
HOUSE DEBATE on BARR AMENDMENT to the DC APPROPRIATIONS ACT OF 1999
AUGUST 6, 1998
Note from CCCC: This debate transcribed below took place in August while it was still unclear whether or not proponents of I59 had gathered enough signatures to allow the initiative to be placed on the ballot. In September, a DC Superior Court ruled that thousands of signatures had been improperly excluded by the DC Board of Elections. The Board retabulated the signatures and officially placed I59 placed on the ballot.
According to the I59 campaign, the votes for I59 -will- be tabulated on November 3. The Barr Amendment would prohibit the official certification of the election results by the Board of Elections and Ethics after the election. The Barr Amendment will be challenged in court by I59 proponents and will undoubtedly be an interesting and intense battle. This battle will bring to light not only the federal government's opposition to patients who want to use cannabis as medicine, but will also highlight the colonial status of residents of the District of Columbia and their fight for Home Rule.
For information on the I59 campaign, see:
For more information about the struggle for Home Rule in DC, see:
Mr. BARR of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I am honored to yield two minutes
gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hastert), who has been a leader in the war
against mind-altering drug usage.
Mr. HASTERT. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.
Mr. Chairman, this piece of legislation says that basically the District
Columbia should not and shall not make marijuana a legal substance. Of
course, marijuana federally is an illegal substance. This is a Federal
district. I think that is just logical.
Let us talk a little bit about what marijuana is and what it does. If
think that kids should not smoke tobacco, then I think it is a logical step
that probably we should not make this available for kids or anybody to be
A lot of people say marijuana produces no ill-effects to the people
use it. That is a fallacy. We find that marijuana affects motor
coordination, reasoning and memory, and marijuana has a much higher level
of carcinogens than tobacco.
Some people say marijuana is not a dangerous drug. Let me tell you,
of patients in shock trauma who have been in automobile accidents found
that 15 percent of those who have been in a car or motorcycle accident have
been smoking marijuana. Seventeen percent have been smoking both marijuana
and drinking. When the City of Memphis, Tennessee, tested all reckless
drivers for drugs, it was discovered that 33 percent showed signs of
Now, I think this is just a logical step. If we want a drug-free America,
if we want a drug-free workplace, if we want drug-free prisons and
drug-free schools and drug-free highways, we probably ought to have a
drug-free capital, to say to prohibit the legalization of marijuana in the
District of Columbia, where millions of our constituents come, year in and
year out, day in and day out, week in and week out. They ought to be safe.
We ought to do our best, not just for the safety of the citizens of
District of Columbia, but for the safety of our constituents who come here
to visit, to come here to learn, school kids that come through this
Capitol, and certainly people who come here to do business, the country's,
the Nation's business, day in and day out.
Mr. MORAN of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may
Mr. Chairman, I would like to remind the gentleman that offered this
amendment what I know the gentleman knows, and that is that this amendment
is moot. There are an insufficient number of signatures gathered. The
petition was rejected with a statistical level of 95 percent confidence
that there were insufficient valid signatures of registered voters for the
District as a whole.
I do not need to go into all of this. The conclusion is that the
recommendation of the Board of Elections and Ethics is that the initiative
measure be rejected, which would have allowed the medical use of marijuana.
So we are not talking about anything of consequence. The District of
Columbia voters have voted. This has been rejected. This is the process
that should have been pursued, instead of us trying to impose our will on
the District of Columbia voters. They have acted as apparently you would
like them to act, and, from your perspective, I am sure, have done the
This is moot, it is extraneous, it is late, and we have no reason to
taken this up. I wish the gentleman had withdrawn the amendment, as we
Mr. Chairman, I yield the balance of my time to the gentlewoman from
District of Columbia (Ms. Norton).
Ms. NORTON. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.
Mr. Chairman, I am absolutely amazed by the capacity of this body to
settled issues. This is the second time that these folks have tried to
gather enough signatures for medical marijuana in the District, and this is
the second time it has failed.
My staff, in order to keep this from wasting the time of this body,
far as to wake up the Board of Elections and have verified that there are
not enough signatures. The fact that there are not enough signatures for
the second time says pretty definitively that the residents of the District
of Columbia have decided this issue.
The medical marijuana debate goes on. Anybody trying to do an innovative
approach, unproven, I believe undergoing tests, but as yet unproven, and
trying to do that in the District of Columbia, must surely know that this
Congress is going to strike it down. That is exactly what happened, except
the people struck it down first.
I am going to ask Members at 5 minutes to 11 to voice vote this, to
consider it moot, so that we can go on with our business.
Mr. BARR of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may
Mr. Chairman, it always strikes me as rather odd that people take hours
hours and hours debating amendments, and then, when one comes along that
they disagree with, oh, they are so concerned about the Members having to
Well, the fact of the matter is, Mr. Chairman, this is not a moot point.
The fact of the matter is that, yes, it appears at this point in time that
the signatures on the ballot are wrong and are invalid.
There is time to appeal that, plus the fact, Mr. Chairman, history dictates
to us that these drug legalization people do not give up. What they will
try and do is they will try and come back again and again and again. Even
if the appeal of the invalidity of this ballot referendum is sustained,
they will immediately, I am sure, begin the process once again.
All this amendment does is it prevents funds, appropriated funds, from
being used in any way to fund a ballot initiative. It strikes not only at
the ballot itself, but at using any funds for the development of that
ballot, for publicity surrounding that ballot, the whole range of things
that these drug legalization people do, over and over and over again.
If the folks on the other side are against legalization of marijuana,
not understand why they would be opposed to this amendment. This amendment
simply says that no monies appropriated under this bill shall be used for
ballot initiatives for drug legalization. That includes marijuana. That
includes all other Schedule I controlled substances, such as heroin, such
as cocaine, such as crack cocaine, and the list goes on and on. That is
what we are trying to get at. Oh, but a portion of the passion that they
reserve for the tobacco issue would be dedicated to the issue of antidrug
efforts, Mr. Chairman.
I would urge my colleagues that this is not a moot point. It is very
alive. This amendment is necessary.
I urge a yes vote on the amendment which will prohibit the use of funds
pro-drug legalization ballot initiatives in any way, shape or form.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman
from Georgia (Mr. Barr).
The amendment was agreed to.
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