California Bill Urging New Federal Policy on Medical Marijuana Close to Adoption

The California State Assembly Committee on Health voted 10-3 today to pass a resolution urging the federal government to end medical marijuana raids and to “create a comprehensive federal medical marijuana policy that ensures safe and legal access to any patient that would benefit from it.”

State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) introduced Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 14 in June 2009 and, despite a Justice Department policy issued in October 2009, discouraging federal enforcement in medical marijuana states, advocates and state lawmakers are still pushing for a binding change to federal law. The full Senate passed the measure in August 2009 by a vote of 23-15.

“This legislation is needed now more than ever,” said Don Duncan of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s largest medical marijuana patient advocacy group and a sponsor of the legislation. “Lest federal officials think their job is done, they need to know their work addressing medical marijuana as a public health issue has only just begun.” Duncan testified today before the Assembly Health Committee on behalf of patients.

“Patients and providers in California remain at risk of arrest and prosecution by federal law enforcement and legally established medical marijuana cooperatives continue to be the subjects of federal raids and prosecutions,” said Senator Leno in a prior statement.

Federal raids reached a peak during the Bush Administration, with more than 200 DEA raids in California alone, but raids have still continued under the Obama Administration. More than two-dozen patients and providers are currently being prosecuted under federal law and face decades in prison. One such medical marijuana provider, James Stacy, whose dispensary was raided by the DEA in September 2009, a month before the Justice Department policy was issued, is scheduled to go to trial next month.

“Not only do patients in California deserve to be free from federal intrusion,” continued Duncan. “But, patients across the country would benefit from a sensible and comprehensive federal medical marijuana policy.”

SJR 14 urges President Obama and Congress to “move quickly to end federal raids, intimidation, and interference with state medical marijuana law.” But, it goes further by asking the government to establish “an affirmative defense to medical marijuana charges in federal court and establish federal legal protection for individuals authorized by state and local law…”

Because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision, defendants in medical marijuana cases are prevented from using a medical or state law defense in federal court. The Truth in Trials Act, HR 3939, which would correct this problem, is currently pending before Congress.

SJR 14 now proceeds to the Assembly floor and, if passed, the non-binding resolution will be enacted without the Governor’s signature or approval. The resolution will then be sent to the President, Vice President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and to each Senator and Representative of the California Congressional delegation.

Further information:

Senate Joint Resolution on medical marijuana:
http://www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/SJR_14.pdf

ASA fact sheet on SJR 14:
http://www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/SJR14_Fact_Sheet.pdf

– Article from Americans For Safe Access.

Comments

5 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    If you want someone to take your “responce” (aka response) seriously, I suggest you use spell check. This would be an improvement on your “meathods” (aka methods) of speaking out for the medical “benifits” (aka benefits) of “merijuana” (aka marijuana).

    You call the Senator “a man who has obviously not done his research” by you obviously haven’t used a dictionary.

  2. Troy O'neill on

    I wish I lived in california…at least there’s a good chance there…I wish all of you good luck from the heart in november!!

  3. Troy O'neill on

    Editor,
    The following is a letter that was sent to United States Senator Paul Coverdell by Eastman attorney Milton Harrison on April 3, 1997. A copy of the letter was also sent to Saxby Chambliss. Following is my responce.

    Honorable Paul Coverdell
    United States Senator
    204 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510-1004

    Dear Paul:
    As a citizen, I appreciate your efforts towards curtailing drug abuse among our teens in Georgia and across the nation. I think about this problem almost daily and am well aware of the resulting devastating effects upon our society.

    As a lawyer, I have a front row seat in viewing persons of all ages passing through our judicial system as a direct result of drug abuse.
    I am firmly convinced that we can build more and more prisons; employ more and more law enforcement personnel; enact more laws and impose stiffer penalties and yet drug abuse will continue to soar out of control. Such a scenario is already before us because we have already done those things and yet the drug problem, especially among our youth, is steadily growing.

    As an enlisted person in the United States Navy during the Korean War era, we were required to view films depicting the results of persons who had contracted venereal diseases. We saw some horrible pictures and, to be sure, they were very effective. These films were presented to us for the purpose of letting us know what could happen to us if we were not cautious in our conduct and personal living habits. These films were viewed by me almost fifty years ago but I can still visualize some of those pictures.

    I say the above to say this: I believe the most effective way to combat the rising drug problem is through our public educational system. Videos should be produced showing all of the devastating results of becoming a drug user or addict. The more gruesome, the better. We must convince our youth in no uncertain terms that drugs are harmful and destructive and should not be used by them in any way whatsoever.

    Our children, through the mass media, are receiving mixed signals. One person says legalize marijuana, another says no and the debate goes on. What are our children to believe? Maybe they will believe what our government says if it is said in a professional, organized fashion. What is now being done is not effective. We must do something to stop the demand. As long as the demand exists, the supply will exist. There is no way around it.

    The runaway drug problem is destroying this country and is it not the duty of the government to save this country from virtual destruction. Videos should be produced at government expense for second graders, fourth graders, seventh graders, ninth graders and twelfth graders as a minimum effort to eradicate the drug problem. Viewing these videos should be mandatory in all public schools. “Just say no to drugs” is O.K. but to show our youth what could happen if they do not say “no” will be much more effective.

    I am firmly convinced that a strong mandatory educational program in our public school systems will eventually eradicate the drug problem in this country. I, as many, would like to see more tax dollars spent on our school children and less spent on our prisoners. If we do this, we will have more happy, healthy school children and less prisoners.

    Once we convince our youth to stay away from drugs, the drug problem will dissipate in less than ten years.
    Again, I thank you for your continued efforts in addressing the drug problem as well as all other problems facing our state and nation.
    I stand ready to assist you whenever I may be of assistance.

    With best wishes, I am
    Yours very truly,
    Milton Harrison

    My responce:

    I certainly agree that we have a terrible drug problem in Georgia, as well as the rest of our great nation. But to say more education, building more jails and stiffer punishment will end the drug problem in ten years? This is a statement made by a man who has obviously not done his research. All of these meathods have been tried time and time again, they have never worked and they simply never will. I find it quite amazing actually, that educated people keep trying the same tired old tactics with the same old results. I think, respectfully, that Georgia needs to start looking at alternative, more modern ways to combat the drug problem. Instead of putting the valuable lives of our law enforcement officers at risk we need to do our homework on the virtues and benifits of allowing merijuana to be used at least medically for the people that could benifit from it. There are many, many uses for this plant. Decriminalise private use and allow our farmers to grow and export it for agricultural, medical, and yes, even recreational use by of age people. Now that other states are doing this scientist are at long last actually able to study and see scientifically all the benifits we can get from this one plant. If we were to take a more modern approach to this problem I guarrantee that in ten years all these problems would be gone. We wouldn’t have to use our limited resources to build more jails. There would be plenty of room in the existing ones for people who are a real danger to society, such as people manufacturing and distrbuting meth, crak, cocaine and whatever kinds of horrible drugs that are out there. I agree education is very important too all of us. If we would just adopt sensible laws then we could tell our children the rock solid, scientifical truth about drugs and stop sending them mixed messages. The great state of Georgia could move into the modern age and our economy would grow greatly with more jobs and a better emphasis on education all led there by you, the great people who could go down in the history books as making Georgia the most profitable state in the union!
    As with any endevor, there will be a few problems to iron out at the beginning, I leave that to smarter people than me to figure out. But once the small problems are taken care of everything would level out. The direction the rest of the country is heading is a clear indication of the changes that are bound to come. I would love to see our great state at the front of this race to prosperity instead of bringing up the rear. Lets get on top of this money making machine while we still can. These changes are going to happen anyway! Take advantage and be a visionary!
    Thank you sincerely for reading!
    Troy O’neill

  4. Anonymous on

    if you have not registered to vote this Novembers please do so now, your vote is needed, TaxCann 2010, stop putting innocent medical cannabis patients in prison for having a few plants, and attacking them.
    if you like the smell of freedom then make plans to come to California for the November vote, there may be a large concert and snacks right after, what is the big deal, medical cannabis is a therapeutic herb with many medicinal properties. safer than aspirin, in fact it should be sold in a supplement pill form like vitamins.

  5. ray christl THC ministry media on

    Cannafornia access on national level with November,Yes Vote…SLOW BUSH-DEA