The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) commented yesterday on the failure of the U.S. House of Representatives to protect their sick and dying constituents from federal arrest and prosecution.
“For the fourth year in a row, Congress had an opportunity to stop wasting taxpayers’ dollars arresting seriously ill patients who possess and use medical cannabis in compliance with state law,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML. “Instead, 259 members of Congress chose today to prosecute patients.”
The MPP took a more optimistic approach. In a press release from Bruce Mirken, director of communications, the group lauded the 18 “yes” votes from Republicans, up from 15 last year.
“An amendment to stop the U.S. Justice Department from arresting medical marijuana patients in the 11 states where medical marijuana is legal received a record vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives today,” Mirken said. “Although the measure failed to pass … medical marijuana advocates hailed the record vote as the result of a growing groundswell of support for medical marijuana from across the political spectrum. Last summer the amendment received 161 votes, which was the previous record until today’s vote.”
Equally surprising are some of the supporters who came out in favor of the bill before it went up for a vote. The conservative organization Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the USA Presbyterian Church spoke in favor of the amendment. The CAGW recently published a report called “Wasted in the War on Drugs” , which criticizes the federal government as “using valuable taxpayer dollars to track down and persecute medical marijuana patients that are using the drug legally in their state” calling such efforts “useless.”
The Presbyterian Church also passed a resolution affirming “the use of cannabis sativa or marijuana for legitimate medical purposes as recommended by a physician” and urges “federal legislation that allows for its use and that provides for the production and distribution of the plant for those purposes.”
Maybe, as more groups and citizens recognize the legitimate use of drugs that were once legal in this country, the witch hunt that victimizes people who are already struggling with medical issues can end.
— Margo Pierce