Three Medical Marijuana Bills Filed in Congress [FEATURE]

A bipartisan group of US representatives filed three medical marijuana-related bills in Congress Wednesday. The three bills aim at protecting medical marijuana patients, caregivers, and providers from ongoing federal arrests, prosecutions, and harassment.

Medical marijuana is on the agenda at the US Capitol (Image via Wikimedia.org)
The trio of bills is a clear signal to the Obama administration that disenchantment with its approach to medical marijuana is growing in Congress. While the Obama Justice Department declared in its famous 2009 memo that it would not go after medical marijuana operations in compliance with state laws in states where it is legal, federal prosecutors and the DEA have continued to arrest and prosecute medical marijuana providers.

In the past few month, US attorneys in states implementing or contemplating regulated and licensed medical marijuana dispensaries have sent threatening letters to state officials warning that marijuana is still illegal under federal law and that even state employees could be at risk of arrest. Meanwhile, the DEA has been sitting on a nine-year-old petition to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.

HR 1983
, the State's Medical Marijuana Protection Act of 2011, introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), would explicitly exempt people complying with state medical marijuana laws from federal arrest and prosecution. It also directs the federal government to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. It is cosponsored by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

"The time has come for the federal government to stop preempting states' medical marijuana laws," Frank said. "For the federal government to come in and supersede state law is a real mistake for those in pain for whom nothing else seems to work. This bill would block the federal prosecution of those patients who reside in those states that allow medical marijuana."

HR 1984
, the Small Business Banking Improvement Act of 2011, introduced by Rep. Polis, would protect banks that accept deposits from medical marijuana from federal fines or seizures and allow them to avoid the onerous "suspicious activity" reports they now have to file when accepting deposits from medical marijuana businesses. That has led financial institutions including Wells Fargo, CitiCorp, and Bank of America to refuse to do business with medical marijuana entities. The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Frank and Pete Stark (D-CA), as well as Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

"When a small business, such as a medical marijuana dispensary, can't access basic banking services they either have to become cash-only -- and become targets of crime -- or they'll end up out-of-business," said Polis. "In states that have legalized medical marijuana, and for businesses that have been state-approved, it is simply wrong for the federal government to intrude and threaten banks that are involved in legal transactions."

HR 1985
, the Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2011, introduced by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to deduct business expenses from their federal taxes like any other business. It is designed to prevent unnecessary audits of medical marijuana businesses by the IRS and put an end to the dozens of industry audits already underway. The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Rohrabacher  and Paul, as well as Frank and Polis.

"Our tax code undercuts legal medical marijuana dispensaries by preventing them from taking all the deductions allowed for other small businesses," Stark said. "While unfair to these small business owners, the tax code also punishes the patients who rely on them for safe and reliable access to medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor. The Small Business Tax Equity Act would correct these shortcomings."

"It is time to get the federal government out of state criminal matters, so states can determine sensible drug policy for themselves," said Rep. Paul. "It is quite obvious the federal war on drugs is a disaster. Respect for states' rights means that different policies can be tried in different states and we can see which are the most successful. This legislation is a step in the right direction as it removes a major federal road block impeding businesses that states have determined should be allowed within their borders."

The congressional action was welcomed by drug reformers and medical marijuana advocates.  "All of these bills will have a positive effect on hundreds of thousands of Americans and only a negligible impact to the rest of the country," said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, the country's leading medical marijuana advocacy group. "This kind of policy shift is a no-brainer and should garner the bipartisan support of Congress."

"The Justice Department thinks it can bully not just state elected officials but also patients and those who provide for them," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "Members of Congress need to stand up for patients and the will of the American people and push back against this federal overreach."

"The Department of Justice's new policy is forcing the public and patients to deal with a chaotic, unregulated medical marijuana market," said DPA staff attorney Tamar Todd. "It is beyond question that states want to and have the right to legalize medical marijuana under state law. The question now is whether states should be able to implement medical marijuana programs consistent with the needs of patients and of public safety and health.  The legislation introduced today would allow states to implement reasonable, responsible regulations."

The Obama administration, with its ambivalent approach to medical marijuana, has left a political opening. Reps. Frank, Polis, Stark and their congressional allies are now rushing to fill it.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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missourimarijuana1986's picture

Good global petition

The Germans especially and other Europeans are going crazy with this one, but I saw Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong minority as well. Of course, US, Canada and the Latin Americas are popping up all over. Please sign and share.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/end_the_war_on_drugs/?fp 

LOL these bills are a

LOL these bills are a JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!

Marijuana IS a Schedule 1 Drug, PERIOD THE END!!!!  These Laws are enforceable under the current Federal laws AND thus give the DEA the power to enforce said laws.  The Constitution specifically states that issues that are not Specifically covered under existing Federal Law are reserved to the States to make laws governing them.  So Rep. Frank has it all wrong when he says "The time has come for the federal government to stop preempting states' medical marijuana laws"  ALL Laws that the States have created governing the use of Marijuana are ILLEGAL and per the Constitution are null and void.

All that needs to be done is to have Marijuana reclassified as a Schedule II or possibly even a Schedule III drug, but to my knowledge there still has not been ANY published research on the effectiveness of Marijuana as a medical alternative.  I have seen more studies and research on LSD and Ecstasy.  I am all for approving Marijuana for use as a medical alternative as long as it can be shown that it does have some form of medicinal value.  Even tobacco has been shown to have medicinal properties but to my knowledge there are no medical products that actually use tobacco.

Recent Marijuana Related Publications

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21566064 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21533029 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19638490 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18496477 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17712817 Now if the Federal Government would just support research into the medicinal Cannabis, we may have some more conclusive answers. However, Big Pharma have their fingers tightly clenched around this can of worms...pathetic.

 contrary to what you believe


 

contrary to what you believe or have been led to believe is an outright lie! there are thousands of proven uses of medical marijuana ! Montel Williams did a huge Dr .OZ show and proved beyond any shadow of doubt that marijuana has many uses medicinally . and furthermore the DEA has been notified 9 years ago to show why marijuana should not be rescheduled and for nine years they have postponed answering that question ! why because it should be rescheduled and they don't want to lose their jobs so they just ignored the question . Until now ! they have been given 60 days to answer that question and if they dont reply ,then this will lead to a huge lawsuit !

your truthful observation

Bravo for your truth. Thank you.

Was tobacco, not Pot

Mr King said there were no known uses for tobacco, not marijuana. By the way, I support ending the "War on Drugs"

Sequitur vel non sequitur?

Your flawless logic is admirable. Thank you. With rescheduling, perhaps many can be employed.

So what?  What you're

So what?  What you're referring to is just legislation, and what Congress has legislated, Congress can change by further legislation.  There is no need for Congress to conform to any previous classification scheme it has used.  If they want to say that notwithstanding any provision of the Controlled Substances Act, this particular detail is the new law, then it is.

So what?  What you're

So what?  What you're referring to is just legislation, and what Congress has legislated, Congress can change by further legislation.  There is no need for Congress to conform to any previous classification scheme it has used.  If they want to say that notwithstanding any provision of the Controlled Substances Act, this particular detail is the new law, then it is.

World Health Organization

   Do Your homework idiot...... there was a ten year study by the World Health Organization that proved it is useful on so many illnesses that it's obvious that big pharmisudical companies would loose billions of dollars if we could grow and use it for medical reasons,,,, Pepto bismal would go completely out of business!!!   Remember [it's better to remain silent and to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt].

Medical properties

If your statement that cannabis has no medical properties, how come Big Pharma is up the DEA's ass trying to get it to approve Big Pharma's bullshit extractions and synthetics????  Your argument carries no one drop of water.

So I guess you have failed to

So I guess you have failed to realize that the federal prohibition of Cannabis is actually what is unconstitutional.  In order to prohibit alcohol Congress needed to amend the US Constitution.  No such amendment was made to prohibit Cannabis.  NOTHING in the US Constitution gives the Federal Government the right to control what I take into my own body.  Further more Cannabis does not fit the definition of a schedule one substance. 

(1) Schedule I. —

(A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

(B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

(C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode21/usc_sec_21_00000812----000-.html

This is the governments own definition.  Cannabis does not live up to any of these requirements.  Next time you want to spout off about something check your facts first.  Unless of course you like being brainwashed.

Dr. King expert

you are such a bonehead- tobacco???? medicinal value????? does that include the 300 known poisons in it?  please shut the pie hole and perhaps the bile will cease

 the federal govt makes bad  laws so we, as sheep , can abide by them and call it all good , right? never mind that the current federal laws were invented by Randolph Hearst  originally to make hemp, his competition , illegal?   id say your brain is null, and void

Dr. King expert

- tobacco???? medicinal value????? does that include the 300 known poisons in it?  please shut the pie hole and perhaps the bile will cease

 the federal govt makes bad  laws so we, as sheep , can abide by them and call it all good , right? never mind that the current federal laws were invented by Randolph Hearst  originally to make hemp, his competition , illegal?   id say your brain is null, and void

@ Gerald L. King

 

Gerald sez:

" I am all for approving Marijuana for use as a medical alternative as long as it can be shown that it does have some form of medicinal value..."

 

Check out glaucoma research.  THC in the form of Marinol treats this condition and is considered 100% SAFE by the FDA.

Lotsa cave dwellers out there. 

ummm Gerald you might want to take into consideration...

 

...that Congress can in fact change the law. You did know that's what Congress does, right?

If you haven't seen research establishing that cannabis isn't a valid medicine you must be wearing a blindfold. Here's a few to get you started:

http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=41&Itemid=135

You need to see Wickard v Filbourne 317 US 111 (1942) and Gonzales v Raich 545 U.S. 1 (2005) to understand how the interpretation of the Commerce Clause has been bastardized so that "the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States"

Why in the world would the Supreme Court not strike the California Compassionate Use Act when it was in front of them in 2001, 2005, and 2009?  San Diego County v San Diego NORML was the case in 2009, where the plaintiffs specifically sought to have the CUA and SB-420 struck down as violations of Federal law. The SCOTUS was not interested and declined to hear the case.

Another case you should consider is Gambino v United States of America, 275 US 310 (1927).  Mr. Gambino was transporting drinking alcohol in the State of New York and was arrested for violating the National Prohibition Act of 1920 by two agents of NYS and delivered to Federal authorities. The SCOTUS found that the NYS agents had no probable cause to detain the plaintiff because what Mr. Gambino was doing was perfectly legal as far as NYS was concerned.  NYS repealed their liquor laws in 1923.

Would you care to 'splain why evasion of Federal income tax is pefectly legal in all 50 States + DC? I always ask that when I run into someone who flunked out of civics class in the 11th grade and as a result missed the lesson explaining our system of parallel and dual sovereignty. Anyway, I hope this screed helps at least a little bit.

I think you missed it. The

I think you missed it. The very first bill called for a reschedulig of marijuana. Also It states that we are trying to push the DEA to get off the 9 year old petition to reclassify.

reply to this plant

MMJ is used for Migranes, pain, isomnia, cancer, shrinks tumors, makes very sick dying people well. you have no compassion, I suspect you are a Law enforcement official, or a plant by a drug company, I see more examples every day that this "devils weed" is a legitimate medical substance, the fact it is grown in backyards by patients has big Pharma worried they will not get their $$$$$$$, so they put out bomb throwers like this chump to scare the people, well it isn't working this time, Marijuana is and will continue to be used medically no matter what federal law states. We just want to take our medicine without bieng criminals.

Sorry. You're Wrong.

You need to read your Constitution again.  Oops, sorry.  Not YOUR Constitution, THE US Constitution.

It does NOT say that any law enacted at the Federal Level supersedes ANY State law.  Maybe in yours but not in ours.  It simply says that those rights so outlined fall to the Federal Level.  Anything else (drugs included), which are NOT mentioned specifically, fall to the State Level.  This is why Az. had a problem with their Immigration Law.  Immigration is Constitutionally-specified as a Federal Right.  No way around it.  The CSA, on the other hand, is simply a bill that can be changed whereas the Constitution carries a harder change procedure.

"The Constitution

"The Constitution specifically states that issues that are not Specifically covered under existing Federal Law are reserved to the States to make laws governing them." -- No, it doesn't.  And it doesn't say the inverse, either.

what is schedule 1 and does

what is schedule 1 and does that make having weed a crime

Marijuanna

Marijuana is a medicine used and documented since ancient times, since the beginning of written history! The government we live under today wants us to breathe car exhaust fumes, eat and drink things we cannot pronounce in our daily food and drink and to think in such a way as to usher us into the doctor’s office begging the good overly educated inflated ego physician for dear life and salvation from our urbanized way of living which is unsustainable globally!

 

The fact that medical marijuana was scheduled as a Schedule 1 Drug against all scientific and historical evidence proves how easy it is for malicious people in power, the government to subvert us into begging for salvation terminally ill patients whether we are conscious of this fact or not, sooner or later you WILL  beg the docs in their pricy medical offices.

 

2012 may be a year when we wake up to government subversion and not just drop medical marijuana as a Schedule 1 Drug which falsely states that marijuana has no medical value. The longer we support officials, who support misinformation and the execution of misinformation through force, the more individual’s standard of living and life will suffer. The choice is yours…

schedule 1 period? must must

schedule 1 period? must must either be stupid or never have tried it. THE END

Power Tripping

For the DEA and other federal officials this is about POWER and nothing else.  Bureaucracies are loathe to surrender power to the people.  Rescheduling this substance would cost them jobs, toys, possibly even real estate.  What else would these highly paid cops do? 

'Welcome to Walmart ...' ha ha ha hah

Marijuana laws

Studies for marijuana has been done by the government several years on a row.  The results continued to show that the plant was not useless and had qualities that could help people.  These have been put away, because they don't say that marijuana was harmful.  The worst thing they could say is,  the smoking marijuana could cause some bronchial irritation. They are classified information now.   We are fighting the wood and chemical companies.  The plant can help medical issues and can product a few hundreds items   The Hurst paper was one of the companies that wanted marijuana put on the drug use laws.  They have since then said they did yellow journalism to stop people from using the plant.  But we are still under pressure with the law makers.  this is another way to put down people and continue to make money on their products.   That is what has been the issue all along.  Take out the competition.  There are no other item used that has to have a license to use.  Not even heroin.  Every year the person using marijuana has to spend several hundred dollars to get the use of this plant.  To does not matter of you have a life long health issue or not.  If we do not legalize marijuana completely we will have police  and government in out homes forever.  I have been an advocate of completely legalizing it.  Then there will not be a convenient way to go into peoples homes.

Insubordination

Obama should instruct the head of DEA that the DEA is not to raid medical marijuana clinics. If they continue to do so, they will be fired. If they can be prosecuted, then prosecute them. Set an example. Insubordination will not be tolerated.

If Obama wanted to do that

he would have done it already.  Obama doesn't want legal cannabis, period.  He only pretended to in order to get the gullible to vote for him, I don't think those who took him at his word will be fooled next time.

Has anyone done a poll on rescheduling cannabis?

So that it's legal medicinal status would become reality based. I bet an overwhelming majority of the public would support rescheduling marijuana. What's Obama's problem?

legalization

yes! i believe that . where's the other bill ? The real one. but of course these's bills will help and get rid of back trash. and will allows small business medical marijuana providers to legally claim their earning's and pay taxes like the other small businesses. Lets go Obama!

States' Responsibilities

Why does no one have the balls to finish th statement that Ron Paul and so many others have made: "Respect for states' rights means that different policies can be tried in different states and we can see which are the most successful." . . . . and in light of the abject and miserable failure that has ensued as a result of regulation at federal levels, it is the states' responsibility to try different policies even if the feds refuse to authorize such policies. This is the whole purpose behind the founding of this country and it's constitution. Unfortunately, the federal government has grown so large that it too is "too big to fail" by all the same standards used to place the same moniker upon the banking and auto industries which is exactly what are founders were hoping wouldn't happen. No one seems to realize how deep we are really in this bog.

Leagalize it

Honestly, I could give a fuck less about government. But if Obama legalized weed, i'd register to vote just so he could have four more years. You hear that motherfucker?

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