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Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act Reintroduced In Congress
06-13-2009, 01:12 AM,
#1
Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act Reintroduced In Congress
Quote:Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act Reintroduced In Congress

Washington, DC: Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, along with co-sponsor Texas Republican Ron Paul, reintroduced legislation today to enact legal protections for state-authorized medical marijuana patients.

The Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act of 2009, would ensure that medical cannabis patients in states that have approved its use will no longer have to fear arrest or prosecution from federal law enforcement agencies.

Thirteen states – Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington – have enacted laws protecting medical marijuana patients from state prosecution. Yet in all of these states patients and providers still face the risk of federal sanction – even when their actions are fully compliant with state law.

Commenting on the bill, NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said: "This legislation seeks to amend the discrepancy between federal law and the laws of over a dozen states that have enacted regulations governing the therapeutic use of cannabis. These citizens and representatives, as well as patients and lawmakers from additional states that seek to regulate the controlled use of medicinal marijuana, should be allowed to act in a manner that is free from federal interference."

Previous versions of the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act were introduced in both the 108th and 109th Congress, but failed to receive a public hearing or a committee vote.

Passage of the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act would ensure that medical cannabis patients or providers who are compliant with state law, such as Charles Lynch (who was sentenced today in federal court), would no longer have to fear arrest and prosecution from federal law enforcement agencies.

While campaigning for the presidency, Barack Obama pledged not to use Justice Department resources "to try and circumvent state (medical marijuana) laws." Nevertheless, agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration have continued to target medical marijuana providers in states that allow for the drug's use.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500. Additional information about the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act of 2009 is available at NORML's Take Action Center at: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/.

Related article:
Quote:Department Of Justice Urged To Clarify Administration's Medical Marijuana Policy

Washington, DC: Members of the US House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment this week that seeks to clarify the Obama Administration's policy toward medical marijuana patients and providers in states that have authorized the drug's therapeutic use.

The amendment, sponsored by Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) as part of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill, reads: "There have been conflicting public reports about the Department's (of Justice's) enforcement of medical marijuana policies. Within 60 days of enactment, the Department shall provide to the Committee clarification of the Department's policy regarding enforcement of federal laws and use of federal resources against individuals involved in medical marijuana activities."

In March, US Attorney General Eric Holder stated that he would not authorize federal justice resources to target or prosecute medical cannabis users or providers that are compliant with state law. However, agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration have continued to target medical marijuana providers in California and other states, and federal prosecutors have continued to bring federal anti-drug charges against defendants who were acting in accordance with their state's cannabis laws.

"I've been greatly encouraged by what President Obama and Attorney General Holder's public statements in support of state's determining their own medical marijuana, but remain concerned about the matter since the federal government has still continued raids in states that permit the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes," Rep. Hinchey said in a prepared statement. "This provision will provide Congress with the transparency we need to determine whether any further legislative action is needed. It's imperative that the federal government respect states' rights and stay out of the way of patients with debilitating diseases such as cancer who are using medical marijuana in accordance with state law to alleviate their pain."

The full House is expected to consider the bill shortly.

For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500.
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