"No longer should the federal government's laws supersede the wishes of local citizens who have decided that their fellow neighbors ought ... to legitimately use medical marijuana"
Washington, DC: Members of Congress are urging President Obama to halt the Justice Department's crackdown on California's medical cannabis providers and are calling on the Administration to reschedule the plant in recognition of its therapeutic utility.
On Friday, nine members of Congress -- Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Sam Farr (D-CA) Bob Filner (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) -- sent a letter to the President "to express [their] concerns with the recent activity by the Department of Justice against legitimate medical cannabis dispensaries in California. .... [These] actions ... directly interfere with California's 15-year-old medical cannabis law by eliminating safe access to medication for the state's thousands of medical cannabis patients."
Earlier this month, United States Deputy Attorney General James Cole, along with the four US Attorneys from California, announced plans to escalate federal prosecutorial efforts targeting the state's medical cannabis dispensaries and providers. Since their announcement, US Attorneys have sent eviction notices to the landlords and the financial institutions of several cannabis providers throughout the state.
The Representatives' letter to Obama states: "During your presidential campaign you repeatedly pledged to end federal raids against the individuals and collectives authorized by state law to use or provide medical cannabis. ... By pursuing the same harsh policies that have been in place for years, we fear that the federal government will push legitimate patients back into the uncertainty and danger of the illicit market. For these reasons, it is more important now than ever to reschedule marijuana as a legitimate controlled substance for medicinal purposes. ... No longer should the federal government's laws supersede the wishes of local citizens who have decided that their fellow neighbors ought to have the right to legitimately use medical marijuana."
The letter concludes, "We respectfully request that your administration reschedule marijuana ... administratively, or publicly support the adoption of legislation that would change the federal statute to achieve this goal."
In July, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration formally denied a nine-year-old petition calling on the agency to initiate hearings to reassess the present classification of marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance without any 'accepted medical use in treatment.'
For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at: (202) 483-5500. The full text of the US House members letter to President Obama is available online at: http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/letter.pdf.