Richardson Tells Bush to Back Off
Democratic Prez candidate Bill Richardson firES off a letter to Prez George W. Bush, urging him to end the feds' "heartless" policy of harassing seriously ill medi-pot patients.
By Jordan Smith,
3:05PM, Wed. Aug. 22, 2007
New Mexico Governor and Democratic Prez candidate Bill Richardson on Aug. 17 fired off a letter to Prez George W. Bush, urging him to end the feds' "heartless" policy of harassing seriously ill medi-pot patients who use the drug in compliance with state laws.
The Bush Administration has reportedly threatened to target New Mexico state officials with federal prosecution in the event that New Mexico lawmakers passed a medi-pot law – which they did earlier this year, making the Land of Enchantment the 12th state to pass a law legalizing the use of medi-mari by seriously ill patients. Richardson said Friday that he would fight any such efforts at "intimidation," and pledged to use all state resources available to fully implement the new law. Richardson also directed the state Dept. of Health to continue with implementation plans -- including fulfilling a provision that would have the state devise a means to guarantee patient access to medicinal pot.
Below is the text of Richardson's letter:
August 17, 2007
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing to raise my deep concern about the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's misguided priority and wasted resources spent to intimidate states trying to implement medical marijuana programs that provide relief to citizens suffering from the pain of severe illness or injury. At a time when the scourge of meth is coming across the border, and cocaine and heroin use continues to ravage our communities, the federal government should be cracking down on real criminals – not people who are trying to help those in pain.
New Mexico, like eleven other states, passed a medical marijuana law to allow board-certified physicians to review and certify patients are eligible for medical marijuana to relieve the pain of patients suffering from debilitating conditions. Our Department of Health is now impaired in its ability to fully comply with new state law for fear of federal prosecution. That law calls for controls on the provision of medical marijuana to help protect the health of our citizens and not force patients to seek a remedy from potentially criminal elements.
The population that seeks this remedy is small and the program is strictly regulated. So far, only 60 patients have applied for state ID card and the Department of Health has approved just 30. I have listened to the personal and heartbreaking stories of this small group of people who suffer greatly each day, and like my Republican and Democratic colleagues in the legislature, I was moved to act.
Mr. President, you still have an opportunity to leave a legacy of compassion by adding an exemption in federal law for states that enact medical marijuana and be an ally instead of an adversary in assisting critically ill people. Respected physicians and government officials should not fear going to jail for acting compassionately and caring for our most vulnerable citizens. Nor should those most vulnerable of citizens fear their government because they take the medicine they need.
Governor, State of New Mexico