Congress Can Change Medical Pot Laws Easily

Congress Can Change Medical Pot Laws Easily
Posted by CN Staff on June 17, 2005 at 13:05:33 PT
By Rob Kampia
Source: Ventura County Star
Washington, D.C. -- On June 6, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can continue arresting patients for using medical marijuana in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. But the court did not overturn state medical marijuana laws or in any way interfere with their continued operation. In its ruling, the Supreme Court indicated that Congress -- not the court -- must be the institution to change federal law to protect AIDS, cancer and other medical marijuana patients from arrest. Soon, Congress will get the chance.
Although some media reports have failed to make this clear, the validity of the medical marijuana laws of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington were never at issue in the Supreme Court case, Gonzales v. Raich. These laws protecting patients from arrest and jail under state law remain in full force and effect. The court has continued the status quo as it has existed since California passed the first of 10 state medical marijuana laws in 1996: Patients and caregivers in these states who legitimately possess or grow medical marijuana are protected under state law, but are not exempt from prosecution under federal anti-drug statutes. This is unfortunate. No one fighting for their life and dignity against an illness like cancer, AIDS or multiple sclerosis should have to live in fear of arrest simply for using a medicine that lessens their suffering. But all is not lost. Federal authorities make only 1 percent of the more than 700,000 marijuana arrests made annually in the U.S. Ninety-nine out of 100 marijuana arrests are made by state and local police enforcing state and local laws. In practical terms, state medical marijuana laws reduce patients' risk of arrest by 99 percent. That isn't perfect, but it is real and substantial. Although other court cases focusing on other legal issues will move forward, it's safe to assume for now that patients cannot count on the federal courts for protection. This makes the path clear for officials at all levels. First, the Bush administration should realize that just because it can arrest the sick and suffering, it can choose not to. The administration can listen to the public and the medical community and end this cruel war on the sick now. In a 1997 editorial, the editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine called the federal ban on the medical use of marijuana "misguided, heavy-handed and inhumane," and that judgment is as true today as it was then. Sadly, there is no indication that the administration will change course, which means Congress must change federal law. Many Americans don't realize that the federal ban on the medical use of marijuana was not put in place by the Food and Drug Administration or any medical or public health agency. The ban was enacted by Congress, and Congress can change it. Congress will soon have the chance to use its spending authority to stop the Drug Enforcement Administration from attacking medical marijuana patients and caregivers in states that allow medical use. Representatives Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, offered such an amendment Tuesday when the appropriations bill to fund the Justice Department reached the House floor. By passing the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, Congress can stop these pointless attacks on patients. Finally, state officials must continue to do everything they can to protect patients under state law. In states with medical marijuana laws, this means continuing to implement those laws exactly as before. And in states without such laws, legislators must realize that they are the best hope for sick and suffering patients. They must act now to protect patients under state law. Make no mistake: The Raich decision is disappointing to anyone who has compassion for the seriously ill, but it doesn't set us back; it simply maintains the status quo. The day will come -- soon -- when Americans will look back at our current policy of arresting patients for using medical marijuana and see it as every bit as bizarre and incomprehensible as the laws that used to call for the burning of witches. Rob Kampia is executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project -- -- in in Washington, D.C. Source: Ventura County Star (CA)Author: Rob Kampia Published: June 16, 2005Copyright: 2005 The E.W. Scripps Co.Contact: letters insidevc.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links Fight is Hypocritical of Marijuana Verdict Marijuana Effort Loses at US High Court 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #27 posted by GreenJoy on June 19, 2005 at 07:38:06 PT
 Good luck runruff! That's their felony not yours. That's their crime not yours. Turn it on them in every way you can...if only in your heart and mind. I wish that were a suspended sentence, NO SENTENCE, a house arrest sentence at least. My sympathies entirely to your family and you. When it happened to me I could only think of my family. Know that you have way too much company and we are all with you in spirit!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #26 posted by Hope on June 18, 2005 at 12:20:43 PT
Writers differ sharply on med mj decision
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #25 posted by jose melendez on June 18, 2005 at 11:09:39 PT
bust prohibition as fraud
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #24 posted by Toker00 on June 18, 2005 at 10:21:19 PT
Damn them all, dude. Never forget. Your contribution to our side in this war on cannabis, will not be in vain. Salute.End Cannabis Prohibition. Now!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #23 posted by Richard Zuckerman on June 18, 2005 at 07:12:36 PT:
A recent newspaper article discloses that Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., the only member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health, "representing" New Jersey, makes thousands of dollars from his stock in Pfizer pharmaceutical company! Congressman Pallone has told me numerous times that he will not support medical Marijuana or the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act UNLESS THE F.D.A. APPROVES IT!Lets sign the petition to impeach President Bush, from Congressman John Conyers' Web site, and send a letter of support to Dr. Mathias Rath [type "Dr. Rath Health Foundation" to contact him] in support of his Complaint Of Genocide Against The Pharmaceutical Cartel? I have already done both! Dr. Rath's office told me my supporting letter will be forwarded to The Hague!Richard Paul Zuckerman, Box 159, Metuchen, N.J., 08840-0159.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #22 posted by AOLBites on June 17, 2005 at 23:41:36 PT
=(so so so sorry....=(
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #21 posted by Hope on June 17, 2005 at 23:09:45 PT
I'm so sorry. So very sorry. For a plant! It's so wrong. It's so wrong. It's so hard to comprehend that civilized people would do this to people over a plant.Be strong. Please be strong.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #20 posted by afterburner on June 17, 2005 at 22:04:49 PT
Excerpt from 'Supreme schizophrenia' 
{Justice Clarence Thomas, often criticized for his conservative views, emphatically echoed Raich's core arguments in an exceptionally strong dissent that had marijuana advocates surprised and cheering. ...{Thomas's dissent was so strong that it lends credence to those who believe that America's "Founding Fathers," who themselves grew cannabis as hemp, would never have authorized or anticipated that the US Congress would decades later ban the growing or use of specific plants. {"In the early days of the Republic," Thomas says, "it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession and consumption of marijuana."}Supreme schizophrenia 
by Christine Trudeau (07 Jun, 2005) Citizens, states, conservative Supreme Court justices versus the federal government
Supreme schizophrenia 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #19 posted by FoM on June 17, 2005 at 21:27:24 PT
Thanks afterburner
I really do have a hard time trying to figure out why Cannabis is illegal in my mind. We didn't have the Internet or 24 hour news channels to help us back then.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #18 posted by afterburner on June 17, 2005 at 21:19:28 PT
Congress Set Up the Whole Scheduling Mess...
and authorized the DEA to rule on changes of schedule. I say that Congress has no business regulating medicine under the Constitution. The Commerce clause is being abused in ways not intended by the founding fathers. That is why the original cannabis prohibition (Marihuana Tax Act) was a tax law. They knew they had no legal authority to regulate medicine. How did the Controlled Substances Act ever pass? What was the constitutional provision that allowed it suddenly in 1970?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #17 posted by FoM on June 17, 2005 at 21:09:27 PT
Isn't it up to the DEA to remove it from Schedule I? Congress can overide the DEA though I hope.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #16 posted by afterburner on June 17, 2005 at 20:57:26 PT
Attention, Representative Mark Souder!
"Many Americans don't realize that the federal ban on the medical use of marijuana was not put in place by the Food and Drug Administration or any medical or public health agency. The ban was enacted by Congress, and Congress can change it." All your talk of FDA approval and carbolic smoke balls is totally off-track, having nothing to do with the facts of how cannabis, a formerly legal American medicine, became illegal by Congressional fiat.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #15 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on June 17, 2005 at 19:56:20 PT
Many people are affraid to talk publicly about marijuana and I don't blame them. Once the public gets used to the subject, then political bias will change. I think everybody could agree that once half of this nation's states have MMJ laws it will become a common and calm issue.If there were a prescription drug out there that would safely, cheaply, and effectivly give me relief from my back and neck conditions, I would not be here typing this message.--------------------Impeach, voteout, and prosecute lawless and selfish politicians. Become involved in politics. If you live in Indiana Rep Burton voted against the Hinchey amendment. Affordable healthcare for all
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #14 posted by FoM on June 17, 2005 at 19:33:43 PT
If you want to tell us more about when you will need to start serving the sentence please let us know. If it's best to not say anything I understand. I really feel bad for you.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by FoM on June 17, 2005 at 19:04:21 PT
Thank you for the suggestion. It's a good one. I don't have anyway to add anything to the front page though. I'm really sorry. That's why I do my FTE site and try to keep it up to date because I know how to do it on my personal page. Here's a link to how they voted on the Amendment.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on June 17, 2005 at 18:58:53 PT
I am very sorry and hope for better days for you.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on June 17, 2005 at 18:51:50 PT
Suggestion for
Since this site gets so many hits per month, I think a link should be placed on the side of the page that offers information on how each politician voted (from each state) on marijuana issues. This week's MMJ vote in congress is a good first post showing the yes and no votes for the Hinchey amendment. A link like that would give us direction on who we might want to put into office.On one of these post someone said Congressman Mark Souder was the author of the amendment to ban college students from getting student aid if they where convicted of a drug offense. I would like to know if this really is a fact (I would guess it is). This is another issue I would like to get fixed in the congress, and with the H.R. 1184 (repeal of that ban) bill coming up for vote SOMETIME we all have a chance to try to change that ridiculous amendment. I would also like to know when this bill will be coming up for vote.We need better leadership in congress.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by FoM on June 17, 2005 at 18:50:45 PT
Oh No!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by jose melendez on June 17, 2005 at 18:41:25 PT
S.F. D.A. Speaks Out Against Oppresion"As the chief law enforcement official of this great city, it is my duty to protect the most vulnerable among us from harm. That includes those who are sick and seek care through medicinal marijuana. I pledge to continue this important work." Kamala D. Harris, San Francisco District AttorneyJune 14, 2005
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by runruff on June 17, 2005 at 18:40:16 PT:
My day in court.
Went to court today. Got 24 mounths for cultivation.Im a felonious farmer.Namaste
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by global_warming on June 17, 2005 at 18:17:06 PT
  Christine Weisman, a 54-year-old Republican homemaker in Reading, Pa., said in a follow-up interview, "They're not getting anything done. They don't seem to be able to come together on anything." She added, "It's all a political thing and they're forgetting the basic needs of the people."That old walk down to Canaan, may remind some of us, and it might be on the tip of of our tongues, how, we manage to ignore that carpenter, the many ways and all that media, Hoping, you all, are having, a good
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by mayan on June 17, 2005 at 18:12:15 PT
Remove Them
Changing the cannabis laws at the federal level is all but impossible with the current administration and the corporate puppets in Congress. The Bush administration is even stifling our progress at the state and local levels. That is why we must remove them. As I've said before, exposing the Downing Street Memos and government complicity in the 9/11 attacks is the surest way to do so. Change won't come until the people get very pissed off. We are starting to see this already with the DSM hearings. These hearings are purely a result of the rise of the blogs. The internet is forcing issues of immeasurable importance to be covered and acted upon. FOX News' viewership has declined by 50% in the last four months. Folks now know they can find the truth elsewhere. The powers that be have to be scared because their mind-control machines are breaking down!THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN..."Coast to Coast with George Noory" presents a 9/11 Roundtable: on the Morgan Reynolds "Demolition" Story - By
Michael C. Ruppert: MOTHER OF ALL HOAXES? World Trade Tower 'Controlled Demolition'?;article=85404;title=APFN9/11 Widow Comments on Delayed CIA Report on 9/11:, Iran and the next 9/11:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by global_warming on June 17, 2005 at 16:17:04 PT
Tick, Tock,
The clock and the pendulum, Swing high and low,, with an approval rating at his all-time low of 43 percent, stuffing through any kind of a second-term agenda—let alone his wildly ambitious plans to turn everything from energy policy to social security over to his corporate cronies—is going to be tough. --People are waking up, from that long slumber,They want to know,What's going on??gw
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by siege on June 17, 2005 at 15:25:35 PT
The administration 
The administration must have Form Letters to do this type of responses' for every one to get the same type of letter... Lincoln Davis said the same thing and he from Tn.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by VitaminT on June 17, 2005 at 14:01:07 PT
That's the exact letter I got from the Tom "Boy from Brazil" Delay (the one that got away)I've often wondered if there were any others like me around these parts. I guess I'm not alone - although I've yet to meet anyone who likes TD!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by Toker00 on June 17, 2005 at 13:54:18 PT
Tom Delay's response (finally)
Dear *****:	Thank you for contacting me with your support of a medical marijuana 
provision in H.R. 2862, the Science and Departments of State, Justice, 
Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2006. 
It is extremely valuable when considering legislation to know the views 
and concerns of my constituents, and I appreciate you taking the time 
to write.	As you may know, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) introduced an amendment 
to H.R. 2862 which would prohibit the use of federal funds from being 
used to prevent the states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, 
Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington from implementing their 
state laws allowing the use of medical marijuana. On June 14, 2005, the 
House of Representatives defeated this amendment by a vote of 162 - 264. 
However, you may be certain that I will take your views into 
consideration should an issue affecting medical marijuana come up in the future.	Again, thank you for contacting me regarding this issue. I would also 
like to direct you to my website,, for 
up-to-date information. It is an honor to serve you in the United States 
House of Representatives.Sincerely,Tom DeLay
Member of CongressFirst response beyond a form letter after a dozen e-mails. An honor? Did he say it was an honor to serve me in the House of Representatives? I wonder why he voted against Maurice Hinchey amendment? Honor?!? You're serving someone Tom, but it ain't me. I'll vote you out.Peace. Legalize, then Revolutionize!(medicine, energy, nutrition)
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 17, 2005 at 13:51:46 PT
The Cannabis War
Supreme Court decides one battle, but activists vow to fight on.By Steven WishniaJune 17, 2005Homegrown medical marijuana qualifies as interstate commerce, the Supreme Court ruled June 6, in the second major setback it has delivered to pot patients.Complete Article:
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment