More States Move Toward Allowing Medical Marijuana Use

Some states are moving to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in response to the Obama administration’s decision to limit prosecutions of sick people or caregivers who use or dispense the drug.
Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that his agents will seek criminal charges only when both state and U.S. laws are violated. That signaled a shift from the Bush administration, whose agents raided several centers that dispense marijuana in California, where state law permits its medical use. Twelve other states also allow medical marijuana, but U.S. law prohibits its use for any reason.

“The change in the federal government’s attitude … speaks volumes,” says New Hampshire state Rep. Evalyn Merrick, a Democrat. She is the author of a bill that would legalize medicinal use of marijuana if approved by a doctor. It passed the state House on Wednesday, 234-138.

Merrick, a cancer survivor who once got relief from nausea by smoking pot, pushed a similar bill three years ago, but it failed. This year it is getting a warmer reception, and now heads to the Senate.

Holder’s announcement boosts state proposals for changing marijuana laws, says Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates legalizing marijuana. “The politics around marijuana are changing,” he says.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who co-chairs the caucus on international drug control, says Holder is violating his oath of office if he fails to enforce federal marijuana laws.

“Marijuana is a gateway to higher drugs,” Grassley says.

Among states considering more relaxed laws:

  • New Jersey. State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, a Democrat, in January introduced a bill that would permit medical use of marijuana. It passed the Senate last month and its prospects are good in the House, Scutari says.
  • Illinois. A medical marijuana bill, introduced by state Rep. Lou Lang, a Democrat, is on the floor in both the House and Senate.
  • Minnesota. State Sen. Steve Murphy of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party reintroduced a medical marijuana bill this year after its failure last year. It passed a House panel Wednesday, 9-6.
  • In November, Michigan and Massachusetts voters adopted marijuana laws. Massachusetts reduced penalties for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana to tickets and a $100 fine.

    “The message it sends to young people is that it’s not a big deal to use marijuana,” says David Capeless, president of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association. “That’s the wrong message.”

    – Article from USA Today on March 25, 2009.

    Comments

    7 Comments

    1. Anonymous on

      Justin, you’ve just traded one addiction for another. You are not cured. The real gift from God will be when you are a recovering addict, and can pull you life together without being under the influence.

    2. str8upstoner on

      My name is Justin I am 29 years old and a recovering Methamphetamine addict I first tried Meth when I was 14 yrs. old with my best friend and his mom both of whom told me not to worry it won’t do anything. Well they couldn’t have been more wrong for the next ten years I(and my family)struggled with an overwhelming addiction that hurt not only me but everyone who truly cared for me,I would do anything to get it, selling my parents stuff, stealing money from them,stealing from stores,ripping people off you name it I probably did it or came real close. So now 5 yrs off of a debilitating addiction I’ve decided to share my saving grace with all of you, CANNABIS saved my life, turned me into a productive member of society and saved the relationship I now have with my family. I now use Cannabis in my daily life not to get stoned(except at night before bed) but to self medicate for my ADHD as well as treating my addiction to Meth. Cannabis truly is a gift from god without it I would be dead or in prison. I really think there should be a place were truly addicted people could go to be treated for there hard drug addiction with Cannabis what do you guys think?

    3. Anonymous on

      I am a MS patient. To anyone that opposes legal mmj, I will trade places with you, let you feel the experience of for no reason falling backwards flat of your back and having to crawl for help. I will let you feel the pain of the WEEKLY injection (THAT COSTS $500.00 BY THE WAY), TO NOT BE ABLE TO WRITE AT TIMES; TO HAVE TO WALK WITH HELP, AND i AM THE LUCKY ONE.Many patients are totaly immobile. So go ahead Politician. Decide what is best for me, but please walk (you are able you know) IN MY SHOES FOR A WEEK. I promise the debate over marijuana will be over. It is the only medical treatment knownto give any relief. NCB

    4. Anonymous on

      Right wind conservatives do not want Marijuana legal because it will take away much of the illegal drug trade, how do you think they make there money?

    5. Anonymous on

      I wonder if David Capeless tells his children that oxycontin is ok or how about xanax a drug that when i take it have absolutely no memory of what the fuck happened. But hey that tells kids its ok because it a prescription medication right find a new propaganda tactic because your just making your self look like a fucking retard Capeless.

    6. Thought_processes on

      Anyone who is still opposing the legalization of marijuana is a ignorant dinosaur and most likely has never smoked it in their entire lifetime. Right wing conservatives are really the only people left alive in this era who oppose the use of this HARMLESS plant.
      Saying ” it leads to harder drugs” is a farce and the result of the Reagan administrations brainwashing. The only way it leads to harder drugs is because people smoke it, see that there is nothing wrong with it, then start wondering what other plants are being lied about. Keep the hard stuff (crack,coke,heroine, meth, etc)off the market, and market the stuff that is harmless and useful.(marijuana, magic mushrooms, peyote, etc)
      The rampant use of meth and other hard man made substances is a direct result of the oppression of marijuana. Nobody believes what the government says anymore, and therefor want to find out for themselves.
      Stop the lies. LEGALIZE!