Republicans Battle with Medical Marijuana Advocates
With the Supreme Court set to consider the issue of medicinal marijuana today, Republican lawmakers opposed to its legalization "sparred" yesterday with the leader of the Marijuana Policy Project, a group advocating medicinal use, the AP/Spokane Spokesman-Review reports. Speaking at a House Government Reform Committee's criminal justice subcommittee hearing, Project Director Rob Kampia said his organization "believes that sick people as well as healthy people should not be put in jail for using marijuana." Kampia's views were not well received by several committee Republicans, who were "candid about their dislike of medical marijuana advocates." Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) said, "What's really going on here is people are trying to legalize smoking marijuana and they're using cancer and AIDS patients as a prop." Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) added, "I don't respect Mr. Kampia. You're not a wonderful person. You're doing something despicable, and you're putting a nice face on it." Kampia responded, "I'll be cordial with Congressman Barr, but I don't respect him either because he's supportive of policy that criminalizes seriously ill people who have their doctors' approval to use what is a legitimate medicine" (Holland, AP/Spokane Spokesman-Review, 3/28).
Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether "medical necessity" should be a valid defense against federal antidrug laws for marijuana distribution groups who wish to dispense the drug for medical purposes. Yesterday, Laura Nagel, deputy assistant administrator of the Office of Diversion Control at the Drug Enforcement Administration, told the subcommittee that the disparity between federal laws prohibiting the distribution of marijuana and state laws allowing it for medical purposes is "causing problems" for law enforcement officials and serves to "undercut" the federal Controlled Substance Act (AP/Spokane Spokesman-Review, 3/28).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.