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Medical Marijuana Policy

US House To Vote On Medical Marijuana Amendment This Week

congress marijuana sanjay gupta weedAs early as this Thursday the U.S. House could vote on a bipartisan amendment to the Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill that would prohibit the federal government from wasting taxpayer money interfering with state medical marijuana laws. The amendment is being offered by five Republicans and five Democrats. A vote several weeks ago on allowing Veteran Administration doctors discuss medical marijuana with their patients received 195 yes votes. Support for letting states set their own marijuana policy without federal interference is rising quickly.

“This vote is about letting states help their citizens without interference from out-of-control federal agencies,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Members of Congress have an opportunity to both protect the patient/doctor relationship and save taxpayer money. No person should have to fear being arrested for following the advice of their doctor.”

The amendment is being sponsored by Reps. Rohrabacher (R-CA), Farr (D-CA), Young (R-AK), Blumenauer (D-OR), McClintock (R-CA), Cohen (D-TN), Broun (R-GA), Polis (D-CO), Stockman (R-TX), and Lee (D-CA).

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that nearly three-in-four Americans (72%) believe that efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth, including 78% of independents, 71% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans. There is strong support for state medical marijuana programs, with 80% of Democrats, 76% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans supporting the sale and use of medical marijuana in their state.

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have laws that legalize and regulate marijuana for medicinal purposes:  Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Five states have laws regulating CBD oils, a non-psychotropic component of medical marijuana which some parents are utilizing to treat their children’s seizures: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Utah, and Wisconsin. More states, such as Florida and New York, are likely to legalize medical marijuana soon.

Despite scientific evidence in support of marijuana’s medical benefits marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under federal law, the same category as heroin. In contrast, cocaine and methamphetamine are Schedule II drugs available for medical use. Patients, caregivers, and medical marijuana providers live in fear of federal arrest and prosecution for following the recommendation of doctors. Federal agencies also actively obstruct efforts to reschedule marijuana or even study its medical benefits.

The first petition to reschedule marijuana was submitted to the DEA in 1972, but it took 16 years (and several lawsuits) for the agency to finally make a ruling. Following two years of hearings, DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Francis Young ruled that marijuana should be rescheduled because it did not meet the legal criteria for a Schedule I drug. However, Young’s finding was overruled by former DEA Administrator John Lawn. The DEA rejected a petition to reschedule marijuana again in 2011.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) maintains a monopoly on the production of marijuana for research purposes. The federal government does not maintain a monopoly on the production of any other drug. As a result it has been impossible to conduct the FDA drug development trials necessary to develop the plant into a federally-approved prescription medicine. The experience of Professor Lyle Craker, director of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Medicinal Plant Program, is a case in point. Dr. Craker had sought permission to cultivate marijuana to research its medical benefits. After years of legal wrangling, DEA Administrative Law Judge Ellen Bittner issued a ruling that it was in the public interest to end the decades-long NIDA monopoly on marijuana production for research purposes. Once again, the DEA Administrator overruled the ALJ’s decision and denied Dr. Craker’s petition, protecting the federal monopoly over marijuana for research.

Patients and their families have turned to the states for help. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment would protect people following their state medical marijuana from federal arrest and prosecution by prohibiting the Department of Justice and DEA from spending taxpayer money to block the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. The amendment wouldn’t prohibit federal agencies from arresting people for medical marijuana in states where it is still illegal. It simply protects the majority of states that have chosen to provide safe and legal access to medical marijuana from federal interference.

“Federal marijuana laws are going to be reformed; it’s not question of if but when,” said Piper. “I can’t think of any other issue with such strong polling numbers across the political spectrum. Bipartisan marijuana law reform is going to happen.”

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation

  • Scott Eaton

    New Jersey should be taken off that list because our FAT SWINE Gov. Chris Christie is doing everything to keep it Illegal…….Making him President would be The USA’s biggest mistake

  • jrb

    That fat bag of shit will never be elected president, he is a crook in many ways and has no brains

  • Daniel Camerino

    Forget what you think you know about medical marijuana, you owe it to yourself to read up on the cutting edge research.

    http://www.encod.org/info/700-MEDICINAL-USES-OF-CANNABIS.html

    ^^^ 700 uses of Medical Marijuana | Sorted by Disease | ADD – Wilson’s

    also. FREE ! FREE! FREE! E-book – The Emperor Wears No Clothes.

    This is the book that started the cannabis hemp revolution. More than 600,000 copies have been sold to date. Jack wanted this information to be available to everyone, so he published the text of the book here on the internet for free.

    http://www.jackherer.com/thebook/

    http://www.cannabisinternational.org/

  • Mr. Lucky

    For once……just once…….do the right thing.

  • mike1188

    There is 10 politictions that get my vote. I have one question since when is the DEA more powerful than the US Government?

    • MrPC

      Only congress can prevent the DEA from dictating national drug policy. Under current DEA leadership, they aren’t going to give up their turf without a fight. After all, if no one is breaking the law, how will they earn a living?

      • There’s always meth, crack, heroin, and cocaine!!

        • Smokerider

          They rather fight the less dangerous substances. Those meth users can be tough unlike peaceful pot users.

    • knowa1

      Politician have to realize that there is far more money legal cannabis than there ever be in the law enforcement of it.

      • Bic

        Its all about the money with these whores. How much you wanna bet if you offerered Michele Leonhart twice her salary to start promoting marijuana she’d be selling blunts on the corner by morning.

  • yep

  • Eli Nope

    i think the next petition should be to disband the DEA. if they won’t play ball, lets get a new agency to do so. i see no reason that they should be able to override the will of the people, and if they can i see no reason that they should continue to exist.

    • I couldn’t agree more. Living in Oklahoma is a death sentence for people like me. Because of the DEA threats it gets harder and harder to find pain doctors. And even when you have one, he’s so freaking scared of the DEA that he won’t prescribe me (disabled since 2003, with enough proof in medical records to choke an elephant) enough pain medication to barely put a dent in pain relief. Even if you’re in so much pain that you’ve considered suicide a viable option over living another day in pain! The doctor still won’t help because the DEA is breathing down his throat and he knows that the slightest infraction will lose him his medical license. The DEA needs to concern themselves with more important problems like enforcing and ending drugs like cocaine, heroin, Meth, and crack, and leave doctors alone. One bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch. Most of the pain doctors I’ve had over my 14 years dealing with chronic pain are truly just trying to help people who are truly in pain!!

  • Maj Tom

    Follow the money. The powerful forces against legalization include organized crime and the forest industry. Hemp is better fiber than trees.

    • theskeptic2

      The United States is the world’s largest importer of hemp…and, yet our farmers are not allowed to grow it…what’s wrong with this picture?

      “In 1916, the US Government predicted that by the 1940’s, all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down. Government studies report that 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees.”

      —Department of Agriculture

      And the above report is from 1916…look how far we have come…

      The whole pot fiasco is a freakin’ joke…

  • theskeptic2

    “A vote several weeks ago on allowing Veteran Administration doctors discuss medical marijuana with their patients received 195 yes votes.”

    That’s true. The rest of the story is that there were 222 ‘no’ votes. ‘My’ Congressman from Florida was one of the ‘no’ votes. I wrote to him:

    Congressman Posey:

    You recently voted against allowing Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medicinal marijuana to our veterans.

    I was in Federal Prison with Brother Love and several of his followers from the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church in the 1980’s. We had all been convicted of marijuana offenses…separate cases.

    While in prison together, I read hundreds of pages of the transcript from his trial. Many are available on the web today.

    His defense team was headed by former US Attorney General, Ramsey Clark. The panel of ‘expert witnesses,’ presented in his defense, included the foremost authorities in medicine of that era. The overwhelming amount of evidence documenting the medicinal benefits of marijuana was staggering.

    And, that was in the early 1980’s. Now, fully 30 years later, the same lame arguments are still being paraded.

    How pathetic.

    I find it ludicrous than ANY comfort be denied our veterans.

    I am a disappointed American…and, there are lots of us,
    Hugh Yonn

    If you would like to see how your congressman voted, follow this link:

    http://www.mpp.org/states/federal/tell-congress-to-end-medical.html

  • The truth

    So… Did they vote on this today or not?

  • The truth

    It PASSED, HOLY SHIT!!!!