House Rejects Amendment To Protect Users of Medical Marijuana
The House on Wednesday voted 264-161 to reject an amendment under which the Department of Justice could not have used federal funds to prosecute individuals who use marijuana for medical purposes in states that allow the practice, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Taylor, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/16).
Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) on Tuesday proposed the amendment to the fiscal year 2006 Science, State, Justice and Commerce appropriations bill. The amendment had stated that no DOJ funds "may be used to prevent the states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Oregon, Vermont or Washington from implementing state laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana." The Supreme Court decision on June 6 ruled that the federal government has the authority to prosecute individuals who use marijuana for medical purposes in states that allow the practice (California Healthline, 6/15).
Hinchey said, "It is unconscionable that we in Congress could possibly presume to tell a patient that he or she cannot use the only medication that has proven to combat the pain and symptoms associated with a devastating illness" (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/16).
However, Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), who opposed the amendment, said, "It's a silly argument that physicians should make up FDA law. ... That's why we have an FDA" (Epstein, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/16).
New York Times: The Times on Thursday examined how the Supreme Court decision would affect medical marijuana dispensaries and patients in California, which allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes. According to advocacy groups, several marijuana dispensaries closed last week, and state health officials have begun to develop a plan to launch a statewide ID card program (Murphy, New York Times, 6/16).
- USA Today: USA Today on Thursday examined how lawmakers in at least seven states -- Alabama, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsin -- have continued efforts to pass legislation that would allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes despite the Supreme Court decision. However, some state lawmakers predict that the decision might "dampen their chances for success," USA Today reports (Koch, USA Today, 6/16).
KCRW's "Which Way, L.A.?" on Wednesday reported on the rejection of the amendment. The segment includes comments from Josh Richman, reporter for the Oakland Tribune (Olney, "Which Way, L.A.?," KCRW, 6/15). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.