House Allows Federal Prosecution Of Medical Marijuana Users

June 28, 2006

Yvonne Lee, All Headline News

The House rejects an amendment that sought to prevent federal prosecution of patients who smoke marijuana for medical reasons, even in states that allow it.

The Supreme Court ruled a year ago that the Justice Department can prosecute medical marijuana users in the 11 states that permit doctor-prescribed use of the drug.

The House voted 259-163 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the federal government from prosecuting people in those states.

Advocates say medical marijuana use is the only way that many chronically ill people can find relief for their pain.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., tells the Associated Press, "If the voters have seen to it and a doctor agrees, it's a travesty for the government to intercede ... to get in the way of someone using something to alleviate their suffering."

The lawmaker adds, "This is something that should be left to the states as American tradition dictates."

Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, disagrees with the notion that marijuana is safe. He tells the AP, "Marijuana is not harmless as some claim... Marijuana continues to be the most widely abused drug in the United States."

Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have legalized medical marijuana by voter referendums.

The legislatures of Hawaii, Rhode Island and Vermont have legalized use of the drug with doctor approval.

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