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.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Jordan Smith
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
Motoreum's Yusuf & Antonio talk about the biz and their reality TV debut

May 22, 2014

APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
Musical chairs at Downtown HQ

May 9, 2014

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle