Press Releases

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WASHINGTON – Rep. Sam Farr, D- Calif., released the following statement after the House Appropriations Committee rejected his amendment to the FY 2016 MILCON-VA appropriations bill that would allow VA doctors to discuss medical marijuana options with their patients:
 
“By ignoring the changing views on medical marijuana, the federal government continues to leave our nation’s veterans behind to suffer. The majority of states have passed some form of medical marijuana laws. Yet VA doctors in those states are still prohibited from discussing that treatment option. Veterans are not second-class patients. They deserve access to the same forms of pain treatment available to the public.”
 
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WASHINGTON – Rep. Sam Farr, D- Calif., released the following statement after the House Appropriations Committee rejected his amendment on a party-line vote to remove anti-National Ocean Policy (NOP) language from the FY2016 Energy and Water Appropriations bill:

“You have to appreciate the irony of Republicans voting on Earth Day to weaken the ability to manage our greatest natural resource.

“This constant attack on our oceans is misguided. First initiated by President Bush, National Ocean Policy is a common sense approach to managing our oceans.  It tears down the silos that exist between all levels of government, private industries and the public to promote economic growth.  NOP is about smarter, more efficient government, not increased bureaucracy.”
 
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WASHINGTON –Rep. Sam Farr, D- Calif., released the following statement after President Obama’s announcement that Cuba will be removed from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Rep. Farr has traveled to Cuba and Latin America on several occasions. Most recently he attended the Summit of the Americas in Panama:
 
“As Cuba moves to reintegrate itself into the international community, we must be willing to modernize our relations with them. This decision by the President moves us closer to normalized relations between our two countries. Decades of isolation have not worked so I am glad we are finally talking with our neighbor to push for new path forward in Cuba.
 
“I have been engaged in Latin American affairs since serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia.  At the 2012 Summit in Cartagena, it was clear our position towards Cuba alienated us from the rest of the hemisphere. We must join the rest of the world by engaging with the island to help build a more open and democratic Cuba.”
 
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Designates 21,000 acres as Joaquin Rocks Wilderness

 
WASHINGTON –California Reps. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, David G. Valadao, R-Hanford, and Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, today introduced H.R. 1838, the Clear Creek National Recreation Area and Conservation Act, to direct the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reopen the 75,000 acre Clear Creek Management Area in San Benito and Fresno counties for recreational use, including access for off-road vehicles. Additionally, the legislation would protect approximately 21,000 acres of BLM land adjacent to Clear Creek as the Joaquin Rocks Wilderness.
 
“Public lands should be open for the public to enjoy,” said Rep. Farr. “Environmentalist and off-road vehicle riders agree there is real value in opening Clear Creek and preserving Joaquin Rocks. This bill would boost our local economy by creating a chance for all Californians to come here and enjoy the outdoors in their own way.”
 
Once considered a premier off-road vehicle recreation site, Clear Creek was temporarily closed in 2008 to the public after an Environmental Protection Agency analysis about the risk created by naturally occurring asbestos.
 
"This legislation achieves two important goals,” said Valado. “Not only does the bill reopen Clear Creek for recreational use, but the legislation also creates new wilderness land that will be preserved for future generations of Californians. I look forward to moving this bipartisan bill forward with my colleagues in the House.”
 
The bill instructs the BLM to develop a rigorous plan to minimize the risk from asbestos exposure and educate visitors about the naturally occurring asbestos. The BLM would also be required to develop ways to reduce the impact of off-road vehicles to protect the area’s habitat.
 
“This legislation is one of the rare opportunities where all stakeholders will benefit from land designation legislation.” said Steve Koretoff, member of the Blue Ribbon Coalition and the American Motorcyclists Association. “It will allow responsible motorized recreation while at the same time protecting sensitive lands and habitat. Californians look forward to being able to recreate in this unique area once again.”
 
H.R. 1838 also designates 21,000 acres of rugged sandstone outcroppings as the Joaquin Rocks Wilderness.  Rising up over 4,000 feet from the valley floor, the striking Joaquin Rocks are the centerpiece of this remote area. Three scenic monoliths are the eroded remnants of an ancient vaqueros sandstone formation.
 
“Joaquin Rocks is a spectacular wilderness oasis on the eastern slopes of California’s Diablo range,” said Gordon Johnson of the California Wilderness Project. “It boasts spectacular history, geology and biological diversity that is unique to Central California. Wilderness protection for Joaquin Rocks is long overdue.” 
 
Due to the cool climate created by the rocks elevation, the formation is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna and several species of wildlife. In addition to falcons, hawks and owls, the cliffs provide a potential nesting habitat for the California condor which was reintroduced in the nearby Gavilan Range
 
The bill also designates five creek and river segments located within Monterey County and the Clear Creek National Recreational Area as Wild and Scenic Rivers. The rivers are not in the zone for off-road vehicle use.
 
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WASHINGTON – Reps. Sam Farr, D-Calif., and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder today insisting that he stop the federal prosecution of medical marijuana patients and providers in states that have legalized some form of medical marijuana. The letter was sent in response to recent statements by the DOJ that it would proceed with medical marijuana cases despite legislation passed by Congress that strictly prohibits federal funds from being used for medical marijuana prosecutions.
 
“No reasonable person would agree with the Department’s interpretation of the amendment,” said Farr. “The DOJ can try to parse its wording but Congress was perfectly clear: Stop wasting limited funds attacking medical marijuana patients.”
 
Congress passed the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment to the FY 2015 CJS Appropriations to prohibit the use of federal funds to prosecute medical marijuana patients or providers that are operating legally under state laws. The bipartisan amendment passed the House last May and was included in the larger omnibus spending bill that passed Congress in December. 
 
“The continuing prosecution of these cases,” said Rohrabacher, “represents a clear defiance of the will of the people, as represented by the United States Congress. Good people, as a result, are victimized by their own government.”
 
Despite Congress’s clear intent, the DOJ has moved forward on several medical marijuana cases including the Kettle Falls Five case in Washington and cases involving several dispensaries in the San Francisco Bay area. In a recent statement, DOJ spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said the amendment doesn’t apply to cases against individuals or organizations, but merely stops the Department from “impeding the ability of states to carry out their medical marijuana laws.”
 
In response, the letter stated, “As the authors of the provision in question, we write to inform you that this interpretation of our amendment is emphatically wrong.”
 
A copy of the letter can be viewed here:  http://1.usa.gov/1y5GaaE
 
The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment was cosponsored by Reps. Don Young, R-Alaska, Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Tom McClintock, R-Calif., Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., Paul Broun, R-Ga., Jared Polis, D-Colo., Steve Stockman, R-Texas, Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Justin Amash, R-Mich., Dina Titus, D- Nev.
 
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