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July Issue of Cannabinoid Chronicles (Vancouver Island Compassion Society)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.thevics.com/publications/vol3/VICSNews3_11.pdf

Rep. Ron Paul is Congress' "Dr. No," Mentions His Opposition to Drug War

Publication/Source: 
Washington Post
URL: 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/08/AR2006070800966_3.html

Higher Education Act Reform Campaign

Since 1998 DRCNet has campaigned for repeal of the drug provision of the Higher Education Act (also known as the "Aid Elimination Penalty,") a 1998 law that delays or denies federal financial aid to people convicted of state or federal drug offenses -- since taking effect in the fall of 2000, nearly 200,000 students have been denied aid under this law. The major component of this effort has been our coordination of the Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform (CHEAR), a coalition including some of the nation's leading religious, criminal justice, drug treatment, education, civil rights and health organizations which seeks to repeal the drug provision. Ten members of Congress spoke at our May 2002 press conference, a record in drug policy reform.

The campaign scored a major victory in February 2006, when the drug provision was scaled back to apply only to people whose drug offenses were committed while they were in school and receiving federal aid.

Also in February, DRCNet issued our first major report, published under the auspices of CHEAR, "Falling Through the Cracks: Loss of State-Based Financial Aid Eligibility for Students Affected by the Federal Higher Education Act Drug Provision," finding that a majority of states deny state financial aid to applicants because of drug convictions, even though few of them have laws on the books directing them to do so. Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez of Maryland offered legislation in the state's 2006 session to address that situation, and efforts underway in states around the country to take on the issue at that level.

Speakers appearing in this photo include Rep. Bobby Rush (at the podium), with Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Robert Andrews, drug provision victim Caton Volk, Jo'ie Taylor of the United States Student Association, Students for Sensible Drug Policy national director Shawn Heller and Legal Action Center representative Jennifer Collier.

Alert: Major Medical Marijuana Vote in Congress Next Week!

Since medical marijuana initiatives were first passed ten years ago, the DEA has conducted raids against medical marijuana clinics in California, recently with increasing frequency, forcing hundreds if not thousands of patients to procure marijuana in the black market instead. In a ruling issued on June 6, 2005, the US Supreme Court upheld the government's power to do this.

While this doesn't change anything -- state laws protecting medical marijuana patients and their providers still are binding upon state and local law enforcement authorities -- it is a missed opportunity for the Court to rein in federal overreaching and help some of our society's most vulnerable members.

Next week (as soon as Monday, June 26), the US House of Representatives will vote again on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment, which if passed will forbid the US Dept. of Justice from interfering with state medical marijuana laws. Your help is needed -- it is crucial that more members of Congress vote for medical marijuana this year than did last year. Please visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/medicalmarijuana/ to e-mail your member of Congress today!

When you're done, please call him or her on the phone to make additional impact -- use the talking points appearing below to prepare for your phone call. You can reach your Rep.'s office through the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or you can find the direct number using our lookup tool online.

Please also tell your friends about this important action alert -- we need for everyone who cares about this to take action, and sending them to our web site to do so will also help to grow our list for the next time. Again, please visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/medicalmarijuana/ to lobby Congress and help medical marijuana patients today!
Talking Points for Your Phone Call or Letters to the Editor:

The Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment, which will come up during debate on the House Science-State-Justice-Commerce Appropriations bill this July, would forbid the Dept. of Justice from using funds to undermine state medical marijuana laws.

* More than three out of four Americans think medical use of marijuana should be legal, according to polls, and eleven states -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Washington -- have all enacted medical marijuana laws in recent years.
* Despite such strong support, the federal government continues to block even research to determine marijuana's medical benefits. Yet the 1999 Institute of Medicine report determined that marijuana does have medical benefit.
* Medical organizations such as the American Nurses Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians support legal access to medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.
* Blocking patients from receiving needed medicine -- threatening them with arrest, prosecution and incarceration -- is senseless and cruel.

Congress should respect state's rights and not used armed federal agents to threaten patients and providers who are in compliance with state law.

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