April 17, 2008 – Washington, DC, USA
Washington, DC: Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced H.R. 5842, the “Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act,” earlier today. This bill would make federal authorities respect states’ current laws on medicinal cannabis and end DEA raids on facilities distributing medical marijuana legally under state law.
Representative Paul, whose presidential campaign prominently featured the ending of the drug war as a platform plank, was joined by Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) in sponsoring this bill.
“I think marijuana is a helpful medical treatment for the people who have intractable nausea,” Paul said in a 2004 House debate regarding a similar measure. “I would like to point out this is not something strange that we are suggesting here. For the first 163 years of our history in this country, the federal government had total hands off, they never interfered with what the states were doing.”
Twelve states have approved the use of medical marijuana, beginning with California in 1996 with the passage of Proposition 215. The DEA continues to raid and harass medicinal cannabis dispensaries operating within these states’ laws. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have both indicated they would end such raids should they be elected.
Michigan will vote on an initiative to adopt medical cannabis legislation this November. Minnesota and Rhode Island’s respective legislatures are also considering pro-reform legislation this year.