Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) on Wednesday night quietly proposed adding the amendment to an appropriations bill for several federal agencies. The amendment would block the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to prevent states from implementing their own medical marijuana laws.
Whether the amendment will get the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster remains unclear. Aside from Senator Paul, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) is the only other senator on record as supporting the amendment.
Dan Riffle, director of federal policy at the Marijuana Policy Project, said he expects some pushback from at least one prominent Republican. The organization is already lobbying to gather support for the bill to break the procedural hurdles and eventually make it to a floor vote.
Marijuana legalization advocates have pushed for this amendment for years. Advocates now widely see the amendment's victory as a matter of time, with more than 7 in 10 Americans in support and more states taking up medical marijuana legislation.
"I knew that we would win on the House floor at one time or another, but I was surprised that it happened this year," Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, says. "As we know, elected officials don't always do what voters want them to do."