Naked City

Weed Watch

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside, has joined a bipartisan group that has reintroduced legislation to end federal prosecution of medical-marijuana patients in states that have legalized that practice. The States Rights to Medical Marijuana Act would reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act and allow states who've enacted medical-marijuana laws to experiment with various means of distributing pot to patients. Paul joined Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, and Janice Schakowsky, D-Illinois, in reintroducing the bill, making it the sixth time the legislation has been filed. Although the bill has never even made it to committee, the number of sponsors continues to grow, reports the Drug Reform Coordination Network. This time around 25 lawmakers have signed on.

In other news, on May 22 Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich signed into law that state's Compassionate Use Act, which provides for a maximum penalty of $100 for medical-marijuana users. Maryland is the ninth state to pass medical-marijuana legislation; Ehrlich is the first Republican governor to sign such a bill.

Meanwhile, over on Capitol Hill, the bill reauthorizing the White House Office of the National Drug Control Policy has stalled in committee, partly due to controversial verbiage that would allow drug czar John Walters to use tax dollars from his office's nearly $1 billion anti-drug media budget to campaign against individual political candidates or ballot initiatives that favor drug reform or legalization. The measure was scheduled for a vote May 22 by the House Government Reform Committee, but was left pending while legislators grapple with the language. Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Bruce Mirken called the stall a partial victory: "We've headed off the evil empire for the moment," he told the DRCNet.

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