Federal Legislation Reintroduced to Legalize and Reschedule Medical Cannabis

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 15, 2013

    Members of Congress reintroduced legislation this week to protect state-authorized medical marijuana patients from federal prosecution.

    House Bill 689, the States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, would ensure that medical cannabis patients in states that have approved its use will no longer have to fear arrest or prosecution from federal law enforcement agencies. It states, “No provision of the Controlled Substances Act shall prohibit or otherwise restrict in a State in which marijuana may be prescribed or recommended by a physician for medical use under applicable State law.”

    The measure also calls for the federal government to reclassify cannabis so that it is no longer categorized as a Schedule I prohibited substance with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. It states: “Not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration shall, based upon the recommendation under paragraph (1), issue a notice of proposed rulemaking for the rescheduling of marijuana within the Controlled Substances Act, which shall include a recommendation to list marijuana as other than a Schedule I or Schedule II.”

    In January, a three-judge panel for the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied petitioners request to overturn the Obama administration’s July 2011 rejection of an administrative petition that sought to initiate hearings regarding the reclassification of marijuana under federal law.

    Separate federal legislation, House Bill 710: The Truth in Trials Act, which provides an affirmative defense in federal court for defendants whose actions were in compliance with the medical marijuana laws of their state was also reintroduced this week in the US House of Representatives.

    Those who wish to contact their member of Congress in support of these federal measures can do so by clicking here.

    58 responses to “Federal Legislation Reintroduced to Legalize and Reschedule Medical Cannabis”

    1. dick justice says:

      There needs to be a deluge of this type of pressure on marijuana reform until the ramparts of prohibition have been swept away in the tidal wave of common sense and compassion.

    2. Angi says:

      If the majority of “WE THE PEOPLE” want marijuana or medical marijuana legal, which they do, then it should be!!

    3. lacy laplante says:

      well i sent my emails but i don’t feel very optimistic about any of this lately

    4. TheOracle says:

      The Los Angeles Times reported 2/15/13 in its Local section that a court ruled this past Thursday that the feds can indeed close Harborside.

      This excerpt:

      “U.S. can proceed with plans to close Oakland pot shop, court says
      Judge throws out lawsuit by Oakland that challenged as illegal the federal attempts to shutter the medical marijuana dispensary, which is the nation’s largest.”

      I’m thinking that unless the economy is even more in the dumps Congress won’t end the war on cannabis consumers. According to an agreement in Toronto in 2010, the U.S. is obliged to cut its deficit in half by 2016. Hopefully, cannabis prohibition enforcement funding will fall victim to sequestration cuts.

      If not, might this be approached in a more furtive way, like really sneaky?

      What do I mean? Well, working on the premise that as soon as federal politicians see anything that includes cannabis or marijuana that they automatically see to its demise.

      Well, what if legislation were crafted that appeared to give states a bit more protection or leeway in implementing ObamaCare, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and there would be language in there without mentioning cannabis or marijuana that can be used to keep the feds from meddling in cannabis states? The Obama haters would pounce on it to get it passed, and the pro-cannabis politicians would have the unwitting support to get it passed into law. Then, when if comes to litigation, the federal court would have to issue such a ruling which would prevent the DOJ, DEA, IRS, and other federal agencies from doing any further damage.

      Pardon the expression, but there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

      Maybe it’s feasible. Maybe they’ll get wise to it, and see to it that it fails.

      Anybody got any other ideas?

    5. Mary Michael says:

      Please pass this reform…too many people are in our jails for marijuana.

    6. Bill Renfro says:

      Prohibition has never worked!

    7. Rebecca V says:

      I’m so tiered of my tax dollars going towards arresting non-violent offenders over Marijuana. As well as calling and identifying users of Marijuana criminals. What a waste of time and money for both sides. Tax it and be done, lets move on to serious issues like Crack, Cocaine, Meth and heroine and how to rehabilitate these users.

    8. Evening Bud says:

      It is great to see the MJ movement pushing on so many fronts right now. For my part, I’ve begun to pester my Reps and Senators more often. It always feels a bit creepy when the person on the phone asks your name, etc. But it’s one of the only ways to get it done. So, come on you guys, let’s push it through!

    9. Tate says:

      What will this bill mean for employee drug tests if it is passed? If you have a prescription for it can your employer still fire you?

    10. Anonymous says:

      I stil say organizing a credible committed pro weed voting bloc in Ohio and Florida representing 5% of the vote would ensure a change in both political parties stances, Pronto. You can’t lose both those states and win the White House. We can legalize marijuana only when we learn how to play the game, such as it is. If not the next president will be either Hillary, who can’t distance herself enough from Weed. Biden, who’s to the right of most Republican’s on weed, or whoever the Republicans nominate, who even if he or she was a wake and bake stoner would remember what advocating for weed did to Gary Johnson’s political career in the big tent. Play the Game