Medical marijuana advocates are on the attack in a new ad against House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) for her recent vote against an appropriations amendment to block the Drug Enforcement Administration from cracking down on state-legal medical marijuana programs.
The appropriations measure, which was introduced at the end of May, prohibits the DEA from spending funds to arrest state-licensed medical marijuana patients and providers. While the amendment passed in the House, reform group Americans for Safe Access has since targeted ads against some of the lawmakers who voted "no" -- including Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) -- and have now set their sights on McMorris Rodgers. (Watch the ad above.)
McMorris Rodgers represents the Spokane area in Congress. Washington state voters legalized marijuana for medical use in 1998, then legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.
"Despite Washington's 16-year-old medical marijuana law and the questionable enforcement practices occurring in her own district, McMorris Rodgers has consistently opposed medical marijuana reform in Congress," ASA wrote in a statement about the new ad.
The ad also highlights the story of Larry Harvey, who lives in McMorris Rodgers' district. Harvey and his family are facing decades in federal prison for growing medical marijuana for their personal use.
"I voted to send Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers to Congress, and she voted to send me to prison," Harvey is heard saying in the ad.
McMorris Rodgers was one of 172 House Republicans who voted against the amendment. Seventeen Democrats also voted no.
ASA is releasing a second ad this week that will focus on Rep. Doc Hastings, another Republican congressman representing Washington. This ad, however, will celebrate Hastings, who voted in favor of curtailing the DEA's ability to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Hastings was one of just 49 House Republicans who voted in favor of the amendment.
"The 'Vote Medical Marijuana' campaign will help the public better understand how their member of Congress votes on these issues, so they can use that information when they go to the ballot box," said Steph Sherer, ASA executive director, in a statement. "Our elected representatives in Congress are making policy decisions on medical marijuana that affect millions of patients in the U.S."
Although 22 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, the federal government continues to ban the plant, classifying it as a Schedule I substance "with no currently accepted medical use."
The Hastings and McMorris Rodgers ads will air on MSNBC, CNN and HLN in eastern Washington every day this week.