Two California Congressmen have written Attorney General Eric Holder telling him to leave medical marijuana patient and providers alone in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Republican Dana Rohrabacher and Democrat Sam Farr cited a recent L.A. Times article that indicated the Department of Justice does not believe a spending restriction designed to protect state medical marijuana laws applies to specific ongoing cases against individuals and businesses engaged in medical marijuana activity.
In the letter to Holder, the two Congressmen wrote “this interpretation of our amendment is emphatically wrong”.
They said the purpose of the amendment was to prevent the Justice Department from “wasting its limited law enforcement resources on prosecutions and asset forfeiture actions against medical marijuana patients and providers, including businesses that operate legally under state law”.
Dan Riffle is the director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project which promoted the letter on their website.
Here is part of his statement:
“Any questions federal prosecutors might have had about the meaning of the amendment are answered in this letter from the amendment’s authors. Throughout their debate on the measure, congressional members made it abundantly clear that it prevents the Justice Department from bringing or continuing criminal and civil actions against medical marijuana providers. Even those who spoke against the amendment said as much.”
35 states–including California where the two Congressmen live– have made the production, sale and use of at least some form of medical marijuana legal under their states’ law, not withstanding federal law.
When you speak with pain physicians, many think marijuana can help their patients, but they note the lack of data is a problem.
The head of the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids told the New York Times recently that the lack of scientific data must be addressed.
“The illegality of the drug has stigmatized most research,” said Dr. Mark Ware. “In Canada, people are sometimes afraid because of the perception that they are working with illegal substances even when that’s no longer the case.”
Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 1999.
Dr. Ware, who is also director of clinical research of the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit of McGill University Health Center, told the Times it’s a different matter in the U.S. because “cannabis is listed as a Schedule 1 drug, like heroin. That means that the medical community is quite restricted in gaining access to research materials.”