Farr comes to the defense of medical marijuana

May 09, 2012

Kevin Howe, Monterey County Herald

Three Congressmen want the U.S. Department of Justice to keep its hands off medical marijuana.

Reps. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, and Maurice Hinchey, D-New York, Tuesday introduced a bill that would cut off funding for federal enforcement of drug laws against medical marijuana suppliers by amending HR 5326, which funds the Justice Department.

"Patients suffering from painful and serious illnesses are following the recommendations of their doctors by using medical cannabis to minimize their pain and support their recovery," Farr said.

"It is time for the federal government to stop targeting the legal vendors that are providing safe access to this treatment and instead focus limited resources on those who sell illicit drugs."

Farr said the amendment will work to assure funds under Justice do not target safe access to medical marijuana.

The bill comes in response to an interagency crackdown on medical marijuana involving more than 100 raids, primarily on California marijuana dispensaries, many of them operating in compliance with state laws.

Since October 2009, Justice has conducted more than 170 raids in states where medical marijuana is legal, resulting in 61 federal indictments, according to data compiled by the marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.

The full text of the amendment states: "None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana."

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