Thompson votes for medical marijuana amendment

June 15, 2005

, The Times-Standard

North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson, of St. Helena, voted Wednesday in support of a measure that would have prohibited the Department of Justice from interfering with states' medical marijuana laws.

The amendment to the Science, Commerce, Justice and State Appropriations bill, authored by Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey of New York, was defeated by a vote of 264 to 161. Thompson said he was disappointed and that the matter is not over.

'This is an issue of compassion and common sense,' he said.

'In the age of corporate scandals and terrorism, the Department of Justice has responsibilities far more important than arresting cancer patients.'

On June 6, the Supreme Court ruled that federal authorities could prosecute medical marijuana patients regardless of whether state laws allow for its use. In the majority opinion, Associate Justice John Paul Stevens noted that Congress could act to change the law. The Hinchey Amendment would have barred the Department of Justice from using federal funds to prevent states from implementing their medical marijuana laws.

Thompson is also a cosponsor of the 'States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act' (H.R. 2087), a bill that would repeal the federal restrictions that prevent states from allowing the medical use of marijuana. Medical marijuana has provided thousands of patients with relief from symptoms associated with serious illnesses, he stated.

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