July 27, 2007 Mr. Phillip Smith XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Huron, SD 57350 Dear Phillip: Thank you for contacting me regarding the issue of medical marijuana. I appreciate hearing from you. As you may be aware, on July 25th, the House of Representatives again defeated an amendment that would have prevented federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act against medical marijuana users and providers in the states that have approved such use. I opposed the amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court has addressed the scope of federal authority to make and enforce laws regarding medical marijuana. The Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Department of Justice can continue to enforce the federal Controlled Substances Act against medical marijuana use in states whose laws authorize medical marijuana use. The ruling does not strike down state laws approving such use, but permits the Department of Justice to continue enforcing federal laws regarding such use. Thank you again for contacting me. I will keep your thoughts in mind as issues related to medical marijuana use are discussed in Congress. Sincerely, Stephanie Herseth SandlinBasically, Herseth Sandlin is saying that illegal (under federal law) is illegal, and she's not about to get in the way of the DEA--even if it means allowing the agency to disrupt the lives of seriously ill people (whom she never even mentions). She does not bother to say where she stands on the issue of medical marijuana, only that the feds are allowed to enforce the law. As much as I disliker her reasoning and her vote, she has something of a point: If we don't like a law, we should get rid of it, not allow it to remain on the books but with no funding to enforce it. Now, I understand the political realities that lead to efforts like Hinchey-Rohrabacher: A bill to legalize medical marijuana at the federal level will go nowhere any time in the foreseeable future, and we want to do something NOW to stop these raids. But as my Blue Dog Democrat representative and her fellow "no" voters demonstrate, Hinchey-Rohrabacher doesn't seem to be going anywhere, either. Maybe it's time to drop the Hinchey effort and retarget. Is it better to push for the currently unobtainable--a federal medical marijuana law--or try to seek interim fixes like Hinchey? I don't have a good answer. All I know is I'm getting very frustrated playing this political game. Where's my "Don't Tread On Me" flag? I'll have some more suggestions tomorrow about where we can go from here, and they don't involve begging our political leaders to do it for us. Stay tuned.
I have had multiple sclerosis and a seizure disorder for 13 years now. I tried it the legal way and just got sicker and sicker, to the point of staying in bed all day. Then I tried marijuana, and it's like a wonder drug for me! I do not get high from the marijuana, it helps relax my muscles and takes the spasms away. Not to mention it's the only way I have an appetite to eat anything. How could someone tell me, no medical marijuana for you?Good question.
Riley called the vote "a really tough day" for backers of the medical marijuana legislation.This is just false on so many levels. For starters, we're gaining votes every year and we know more or less what to expect. Yesterday's result is not some sort of shocking rebuke of our position. If anything, Riley should be a bit concerned that 165 members of Congress think his whole team has its head up its collective posterior.
"More and more people are realizing there is a con going on…" [Reuters]
Similarly, Riley's assertion that "more and more people" are turning against medical marijuana is utter nonsense. We would have liked to get more votes, of course, but this is still the most support medical marijuana has seen in Congress. Public support for medical marijuana is far greater, hovering between 70% and 80%. Riley knows perfectly well that this issue is a full-blown public relations nightmare for his office, and he should be supremely grateful that idiocy about medical marijuana is better represented in Congress than the general population.