Medical Marijuana Advocates Meet in Washington, D.C., To Promote Bill To Bar Interference with State Laws
Advocates gathered in Washington, D.C., Wednesday to rally support for a bill (HR 2592) that would prohibit the federal government from interfering with state laws that legalize the use of medical marijuana, the Los Angeles Times reports. Nine states, including California, have such laws, which conflict with federal narcotics regulations (Garvey, Los Angeles Times, 7/25). Under Proposition 215, a ballot measure approved by California voters in 1996, patients with chronic diseases can use medical marijuana to treat pain, and the state Supreme Court last week ruled that residents who cultivate or use medical marijuana with a physician's recommendation are protected from state prosecution under the law (California Healthline, 7/23). But the U.S. Supreme Court last year upheld federal regulations banning the practice, ruling that marijuana offers no "medical benefits worthy of exception." Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said that the House bill, which was proposed last year but has stalled in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would prohibit the federal government from interfering with state laws. The bill is "very narrow," according to its supporters, and would stop federal law enforcement officials from prosecuting individuals only in states that allow medical marijuana use. The bill is not meant to "open the door to broader legalization" of marijuana, advocates said. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) said, "Let's get over some of the stereotypes and hangovers from the 1960s" and pass the legislation (Los Angeles Times, 7/25).
A proposal by San Francisco Supervisor Mark Leno that the city grow and distribute its own medical marijuana addresses the "serious matter of how to get [the drug] to patients in a structured, limited way," according to a San Francisco Chronicle editorial (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/26). On Monday, supervisors voted to place a measure on the November ballot that would call on city officials to examine a program to cultivate medical marijuana for distribution to patients with chronic diseases such as cancer and AIDS (California Healthline, 7/23). While the editorial supports greater access to medical marijuana, it states that San Francisco is "not the best place" to grow the drug because of security concerns. Instead, Congress should pass HR 2592 and "acknowledge reality: that many doctors regard marijuana, while admittedly experimental, as a potentially helpful treatment for certain ailments," the Chronicle says. The editorial concludes, "States should be allowed to set up a consistent, controlled way to make it happen, instead of leaving it to cities to grasp at ideas that may or may not prove practical" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/26).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.