Drug Policy Action Grades Members of U.S. House of Representatives on Commitment to Drug Policy Reform in New Voter Guide

Press Release October 28, 2014
Media Contact

<p>Contact: Tony Newman (646) 335-5384 or Grant Smith (202) 669-6573</p>

Washington, D.C. – Drug Policy Action released the 2014 Drug Policy Reform Congressional Voter Guide today, which grades members of Congress on how they voted on seven key drug policy reform votes in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013 and 2014.

The guide is designed not just to educate voters on which members of the U.S. House of Representatives support drug policy reform – but also to send a firm message to elected officials that they will be held accountable for supporting draconian policies that exacerbate the worst harms of the drug war. Clear bipartisan support now exists both among the American public and in Congress for ending the drug war and letting states set their own marijuana policies.

The voter guide examines historic votes on a wide range of issues, such as whether to bar the DEA from undermining state medical marijuana laws and whether to allow banks to accept deposits from marijuana businesses. The voter guide also summarizes decisive steps taken over the last two years by congressional lawmakers and officials in the Obama administration toward advancing drug policy reform.

Over the past two decades, U.S. states have passed dozens of drug policy reform measures as federal policy lagged behind. That started to change in the past two years, as the U.S. House passed not just one – but five – marijuana law reform measures.  No branch of Congress had ever passed a major marijuana law reform measure previously.

Political observers marveled that, in an otherwise-gridlocked Congress, drug policy reform appears to be one of the few issues that Democrats and Republicans can agree on.  While progress was made in the Senate this year – most notably the introduction of bi-partisan legislation by up-and-coming Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) to stop federal interference with state medical marijuana laws – not enough votes were taken in the Senate to warrant its inclusion in the guide.

"For the first time, a working bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives is on record supporting major drug policy reform,” said Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs for Drug Policy Action. “We are witnessing a fundamental shift in how members of Congress assess the war on drugs and are nearing a tipping point in favor of sweeping changes to U.S. drug policy.”

Highlights of the 2014 Drug Policy Reform Congressional Voter Guide:

Drug Policy Action graded Representatives on how they voted on the following drug policy reform votes on the floor of the U.S. House:

"Unprecedented support now exists on both sides of the aisle in Congress for ending the federal war on drugs and letting states set their own drug policies,” said Smith. “Drug policy reform is a winning issue for elected officials.”

Drug Policy Action is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit, 501(c)(4) organization working to pass new drug laws and policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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