States Still Push for Medical Pot

States Still Push for Medical Pot
Posted by CN Staff on June 15, 2005 at 22:48:18 PT
By Wendy Koch, USA Today
Source: USA Today
Washington, D.C. -- State lawmakers in several states are pushing ahead with medical-marijuana legislation, despite a recent Supreme Court ruling and the U.S. House of Representatives' rejection Wednesday of a bill that would protect medical-pot users from federal prosecution. Lawmakers in at least seven states  Alabama, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsin  say they will continue efforts to pass laws allowing residents to use marijuana for medical reasons. Some say, however, that recent federal action may dampen their chances for success. Others are halting their plans.
"It makes it more difficult," says Alabama state Rep. Laura Hall, a Democrat who has proposed a bill allowing pot's medical use. She expects opponents will cite both the U.S. House vote and the Supreme Court ruling that allows federal prosecution of medical-pot use. Still, she's undeterred: "I will continue to sponsor the bill."The U.S. House, by a 264-161 vote Wednesday, rejected an amendment that would have barred the Justice Department from prosecuting medical-marijuana users who are following state laws. Proponents, including 15 Republicans and 145 Democrats, picked up 13 votes from last year but still fell far short of the majority needed for passage.U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., introduced a related measure late last year, but no action is pending in the Senate.The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 last week that the federal government may prosecute sick people who use pot under a doctor's prescription to ease pain. The justices said a federal ban trumps state laws protecting such patients. It left the issue to the Justice Department, which has to decide how aggressively to pursue patients, and Congress.Federal prosecutions make up a tiny share of marijuana charges nationally, so state laws have protected many users. Snipped:Complete Article: HopeSource: USA Today (US)Author: Wendy Koch, USA TodayPublished: June 15, 2005Copyright: 2005 USA Today, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.Contact: editor usatoday.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Drug Policy Alliance Let Congress Legalize It Snuffs Out Medical Marijuana Provision Rejects Medical Marijuana Again House Again Defeats Medical Marijuana Use
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