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Medical Marijuana: Barney Frank Introduces Federal Bill to Get DEA Out, Reschedule as Medicine

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #590)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced legislation Monday that would reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II drug and eliminate federal authority to prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it is legal. Titled the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act (HR 2835), the bill currently has 16 sponsors and has been sent to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Barney Frank
Frank introduced similar legislation in the last two Congresses, but the bills never got a committee vote or even a hearing. Advocates hope that with a Democratically-controlled Congress and a president who has at least given lip service to medical marijuana, Congress this year will prove to be friendlier ground.

"We are encouraged by the federal government's willingness to address this issue and to bring about a more sensible and humane policy on medical marijuana," said Caren Woodson, government affairs director for Americans for Safe Access. "It's time to recognize marijuana's medical efficacy, and to develop a comprehensive plan that will provide access to medical marijuana and protection for the hundreds of thousands of sick Americans that benefit from its use."

When it comes to reining in the feds, the bill would bar the use of the Controlled Substances Act or the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act for prohibiting or restricting doctors from prescribing marijuana and patients, caregivers, and co-ops or dispensaries from using, possessing, transporting or growing marijuana in accordance with state law.

The Obama administration has pledged to not use Justice Department resources to go after medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it is legal. Still, the DEA has continued to target medical marijuana providers, prosecutors continue to file drug charges against providers acting in accord with state laws, and federal judges continue to sentence medical marijuana providers who followed state laws, but were convicted under federal drug laws.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Roger Dodger (not verified)

Before you can do anything about decrimilization or legalization, you HAVE TO get medical marijuana into its proper schedule - that will take all the wind out of the DEA's sails. I would prefer that Mr. Franks would get medical marijuana into Schedule III or even Schedule IV, but at least this is a good start. Even the US Supreme Court said that Congress MUST change the scheduling before they can do anything about medical marijuana.

Perhaps you should toke up a phattie and mellow out for awhile. NOTHING happens instantly with this government. Stay in there for the long haul, but realize it going to be a LONG HAUL.


Fri, 06/19/2009 - 5:56pm Permalink
glenstark (not verified)

Your thought-process is steered by anger rather than strategy or rational thought. It is also counter productive.

Rational scheduling of drugs and a sane, rational, evidence based drug policy are both desirable goals. Although they overlap, they are best considered as separate, desirable goals. Doing so makes both movements stronger.

Regardless of whether we accomplish Marijuana legalisation in the near future (I believe we will), medical marijuan should be readily available, and medical marijuna patients should be treated with dignity and respect. This is simple human compassion. It benefits society directly, in that it helps sick people get better medicine. It provides a trememendously useful, organic medicine which can be potentially free (it's ridiculously easy to grow your own marijuana if you don't have the dea raiding your yard).

It has secondary benefits which help the prohibition-repeal movement as well: It decreases the stigma attached to cannabis, and it provides a source for more hard scientific data backing up the drugs relative safety.

So instead of being pissed off because things aren't happening fast enough, help out. Try to cut out the ranting rhetoric too. It doesn't help our movement to have supporters coming across as ranting lunatics.

Mon, 06/22/2009 - 2:12pm Permalink
sun (not verified)

true/agree ... HOWEVER ... "don't" work that way, hon ... Mr. Frank's action IS better than nothing and kudos to him! all i can figure, is that u must be kinda young? [<35]

in alabama

Fri, 06/19/2009 - 5:35pm Permalink
Peyote Sky (not verified)

In reply to by sun (not verified)

If more people would take a sabbatical from smoking and start working in a more practical way to help, we could stop a lot of suffering and prosecutions ~ "THEY" will never legalize anything ~ Because of those who have worked so hard President Obama this morning, 10/19/09, just delivered a 3 page directive to all Law Enforcment RE: Medical Marijuana

Mon, 10/19/2009 - 12:01pm Permalink
David Dunn (not verified)

Barney Frank (D-MA) should have the cojones to ask Ron Paul (R-TX) if together they have enough cajones to introduce legislation to remove all things hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.

— Thomas Jefferson

Fri, 06/19/2009 - 6:44pm Permalink
Marijuana Nation (not verified)

Cannabis/Marijuana, is a medicinal herb...NOT a should have never been scheduled to begin with. What on earth is a known, criminal pedophile, Barney Frank, doing , trying to write marijuana laws? Most of our laws that are written in D.C. are written by criminal pedophiles, is it any wonder why the nation is in a shambles? The entire federal government system is a farce...abolish it, give it an abortion, flush it down the toilet and be done with it. Power to the people, we'll write our own pot laws without the influence of career pedophile criminals like Barney Franks and his ilk.

Fri, 06/19/2009 - 7:56pm Permalink
Tennessee Activist (not verified)

The only thing wrong with today's world is to many people expect everything to fast. The "NOW," crowd is simply not aware of the process and it's easy to be frustrated. I'd love for Obama to legalize MJ now once and for all of us but it's not going to happen like that this time around. Sometimes we have to work at what we want and this time around we're going to work our butts off till we're satisfied with the results of legalization efforts. If you've got a better plan, we'd all like to hear it, otherwise complaining is just not going to help anyone. Hang in there, we'll make it in the future and we'll all be very happy when it happens.

Fri, 06/19/2009 - 9:48pm Permalink
Apothecary Botanists (not verified)

Bottom line, it's nice to reschedule it, but we pay their salaries.  We decide their fates (DEA, politicians) - Just get off it already and legalize Marijuana completely and we now have only 20 days until the DEA irresponsibly bans Kratom.  Once this stupid move goes into place because of 1 man's decision, America will suffer massively.  Kratom is a "new kid on the block" but not really.. It's been used safely for over 1000 years at least and yet they legalize Lyrica and other liver damaging drugs that cause major side effects such as even cancer.  Kratom help with anxiety, depression, focus, pain, withdrawal from opiates and heroin, etc.  It's now painfully too obvious who is behind the DEA (Roseberg - "Acting" director) for the DEA as he should be majorly investigated into fraud and technically attempted and premeditated murder.  Since Opiates have been rescheduled from III to II, heroin has skyrocketed 127% in just less than 2 years! Crime has also skyrocketed.   Now he's going after Kratom and does not care about hearing from the people as he said in a statement.  So that mean we have no 1st amendment rights! Rather unconstitutional of him.  The DEA needs to focus on seriously dangerous drugs, proven to be fatal, not botanicals God Gave us.  I feel sorry for anyone that is behind banning these substances on Judgment Day. They only want more funding - way more funding than NASA, and care nothing for American's lives and freedoms while incarcerating addicted people when they have a disease of addiction.  These arrested Americans are NOT criminals and I don't want to hear crap like the Law is the Law!  Lady Justice is Blind or is she now leaning to the right??!

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 12:52am Permalink

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