Naked City

Weed watch: medi-pot in Congress

On May 4, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, filed the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act (HR 2087), which would forbid the feds from prosecuting bona fide medi-pot patients, their providers, and doctors in states that have legalized medicinal use of the drug. So far, 30 co-sponsors have signed on to the measure, including Texas Reps. Ron Paul, R-Surfside, and Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston. Frank has filed similar legislation in the past; in 2003, his medi-pot legislation was 66 votes shy of passing out of the House.

Also last week, Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, and Maurice Hinchey, D-New York, said they will reintroduce an amendment to the Department of Justice spending bill that would prohibit the agency from using federal tax dollars to arrest and prosecute medi-pot patients and caregivers in the 10 states that have legalized medical marijuana. "It makes no sense at all to have the federal government overriding a vote of the people of a state on what should be criminalized and what shouldn't be criminalized in terms of personal consumption," Rohrabacher told the San Jose Mercury News.

Talk show host Montel Williams, who uses medi-pot to control the pain associated with multiple sclerosis, and famed medi-pot patient Angel Raich, whose bid to ban the feds from interfering with state-sanctioned medi-mari use is still pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, joined lawmakers on Capitol Hill last week to urge passage of Frank's bill. "Medical marijuana helped me when the strongest prescription painkillers failed – or left me in such a stupor I couldn't function," Williams said at a press conference. "Patients struggling for their lives and dignity against illnesses like MS, cancer, or AIDS should not be treated as criminals."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

medical marijuana, medi-pot, Montel Williams, Dana Rohrabacher, Ron Paul, Sheila Jackson-Lee, States' Rights to Medical Marijuana, Dept. of Justice, Maurice Hinchey, Angel Raich

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