Yesterday, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced legislation that would recognize the medicinal use of marijuana and remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
The issue of regulating medical marijuana would be returned to the states, and individuals complying with state medical marijuana laws would be exempt from federal arrest and prosecution. The bill, the States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, H.R. 689, also requires greater access to marijuana for medical research.
“The States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act will allow medical marijuana patients and businesses – who are complying with state law – the ability to access and distribute marijuana free from federal interference,” Blumenauer said. ”Nineteen jurisdictions have passed laws recognizing the importance of providing access to medical marijuana for the hundreds of thousands of patients who rely on it. It is time for the federal government to respect these decisions, and stop inhibiting safe access.”
Over the past decade, polls have consistently found that about three out of four Americans support medical marijuana.
“There is a plethora of scientific evidence establishing marijuana’s medical safety and efficacy and public polling for marijuana law reform is skyrocketing,” said Jasmine L. Tyler, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “However, when it comes to marijuana and the federal government, old fashioned politics routinely trumps modern science. The States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act offers us hope we will see significant change with its passage.”
The bill was introduced with bipartisan cosponsorship, including Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Barbara Lee (D-CA), James Moran (D-VA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Michael Honda (D-CA), and Jared Huffman (D-CA).
Every independent commission to examine marijuana policy has concluded that its harms have been greatly exaggerated – from the 1944 LaGuardia Report, to President Nixon’s 1972 Schaffer Commission report, to the Institute of Medicine’s congressionally-mandated 1999 report.
“Congress should move swiftly to acknowledge what patients, doctors, researchers and scientists have been telling us for years: marijuana has therapeutic and medicinal benefits,” said Tyler.