Puff, Puff, Access

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Supporters of medical marijuana research have set up a new group to lobby Congress: Americans for Safe Access.

ASA's two lobbyists and seven members, dubbed "citizen experts," met Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), who will offer his traditional medical-marijuana amendment to the Justice Department appropriations bill when it hits the floor next week, and 20 more House members, most from the California delegation. California permits cannabis use for medical reasons, but the Supreme Court ruled last year in Gonzales v. Raich that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) could legally raid the supply of state-sanctioned users.

"Eventually we do see legislation being put forth" to end the federal ban on marijuana research, said ASA's government-affairs director, Caren Woodson, "but the first thing we need to happen is that patients and doctors in states with laws stop being harassed by DEA agents." Hinchey's amendment, co-sponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), would bar Justice from spending federal money on raiding stashes in California and nine other states with legalization laws.

This is nice, but action on the federal level isn't going to happen, no matter which party is in charge. The best hope medical marijuana advocates have is to continue getting decriminalization passed in states and localities, and wait until a less draconian Justice Department takes command. Yeah, easier said than done, but it's more likely than any act of Congress 1)happening or 2)giving Alberto Gonzales a moment's pause.

NEXT: Are You Going to Amsterdam in August?

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  1. ASA has been around for years working mainly in California at the county and state level, they’ve only recently decided to start a federal lobbying workshop up…

    You also forgot about legal action by MAPS at the federal level that may result in more medical marijuana reseach being allowed in Mass. — a judgement should be coming soon…

  2. ASA has been around for years working mainly in California at the county and state level, they’ve only recently decided to start a federal lobbying workshop up…

    You also forgot about legal action by MAPS at the federal level that may result in more medical marijuana reseach being allowed in Mass. — a judgement should be coming soon…

  3. Twenty years ago I knew only of NORML. And what I knew was that they lost the Drug War to the Drug Warriors. Now I’m aware of; the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and others. Med-Pot is growing in activity and public support, with several successful ballot initiatives. And then there is Denver, CO. where “the use and possession of less then one ounce of marijuana non-punishable under Denver city ordinances for adults 21 and older”.

    Of course the Drug Warriors have picked up the gauntlet. However, the extremes they’ve been driven to (hounding sick people, resurrecting ‘Refer Madness’ propaganda, etc.) is surely a sign of their desperation.

    Thirty years ago I thought the end of prohibition was inevitable. Since then, the destruction of freedom in the USA at the hands of the War On Drugs has continued unhindered. Past disappointments have left me afraid of hope, but I am hopeful none the less.

  4. Speaking of reefer madness, I saw a ridiculous poster in the health center of the company I’m working for this summer. It was a government-issued poster listing the adverse effects of various recreational drugs. On the marijuana list, one item was, and this is a pretty close paraphrasing, “increases likelihood of sexually deviant behavior.” The kicker? The poster was printed in 2000. The backwardness/ignorance of the 50’s can’t explain that one away.

  5. The medical marijuana movement is just a foot in the door for LEGALIZATION!! We know what they’re trying to do. STOP THEM NOW before its too late!!

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