Monday, November 21, 2011

Congressional Letter Urges Obama to Change Policy

From Americans For Safe Access

Nine members of Congress have directly asked President Obama to end the ongoing attacks on state medical cannabis programs.

In a letter sent to the White House late last month, representatives from California, Colorado and Tennessee called the targeting of state-licensed medical cannabis dispensaries “unconscionable” and called on the President to reschedule cannabis to make it available as a medicine. The letter also urges support for the States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, legislation introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) that would prohibit federal interference in state medical cannabis programs.

"It is critically important for patients to have safe access to this treatment that continues to be recommended by doctors. California voters decided to adopt clear regulations to allow patients to do just that,” Rep. Sam Farr told the media after the letter was sent. “It is unfortunate that the federal government has decided to target these legal vendors instead of focusing limited resources on those who sell illicit drugs."

The other members of Congress who signed the letter are Democrats Barbara Lee, Pete Stark, Lynn Woolsey, and Republican Dana Rohrbacher – all of California – and Democrats Jared Polis of Colorado and Steve Cohen of Tennessee. Staff from Americans for Safe Access’s Washington D.C. office worked with the representatives in preparing the letter.

"We write to express our concern with the recent activity by the Department of Justice against legitimate medical cannabis dispensaries in California that are operating legally under state law," the letter said.

The four U.S. Attorneys in California announced Oct. 7 that they were stepping up enforcement actions against dispensaries in the state. The announcement follows a Department of Justice memo issued June 29 stating that anyone involved with medical cannabis programs, even those expressly legal and licensed under state law, is subject to federal prosecution and asset forfeiture.

"It is our strong position that local and state governments must be allowed to develop, implement and enforce their own public health laws with regard to medical cannabis," the letter stated.

The Representatives also noted that the recent escalation in California follows months of federal interference in other state medical cannabis programs, including federal raids in seven states. Americans for Safe Access has documented 125 medical cannabis raids under the Obama Administration.

More information:
The letter to President Obama from members of Congress


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