Earlier this year, REASON staffers called every member of the United States Congressional delegations from Arizona and California and asked them three questions relating to either Prop. 200 (Arizona) or Prop. 215 (California), successful ballot initiatives that allow doctors in those states to prescribe currently illegal drugs (anything in Arizona, marijuana in California):
1. Do you support the Clinton Administration's threats to crack down on physicians and other citizens of your state who exercise their rights under Prop. 200/Prop. 215?
2. Opponents of the measure such as Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) have claimed that voters were "asleep at the switch" and "hoodwinked." Do you think voters of your state were incompetent in passing the law?
3. Do you believe that physicians who prescribe or recommend marijuana to relieve a specific medical condition should be subject to criminal prosecution?
A summary of and commentary on the results can be found in the April issue of REASON. Not surprisingly for a controversial topic, 36 out of possible 62 respondents refused to answer our questions. Of the 26 senators and representatives who did respond, many were uncomfortable with boiling their position down to a simple yes or no; some only answered one or two of the questions, refusing comment on the others. As a result, we inferred their answers based on the overall content of their responses.
Overall, nine congressmen and congresswomen could be said to agree with the first question; 15 disagreed. The second question also garnered 9 affirmatives, with 16 opposed. The third question got eight yes votes and 15 no votes. Because not all respondents answered all questions, the totals do not equal 26.
Here are the specific responses:
Sen. John McCain (R)
Sen. Jon Kyl (R)
Other: Spokesman said that although Kyl is a proponent of federalism and devolution, the senator believes "there cannot be 50 FDAs. Medicine needs to be tested scientifically and that science will hold up in every state. We can't let states dictate policy because drugs can be sold nationally."
Rep. Matt Salmon (R; District 1)