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McNerney Changes Medical Marijuana Stance

Discussion in 'Marijuana News From Around The Globe' started by Ranken, Jul 12, 2008.


    Ranken Well-Known Member

    McNerney changes medical marijuana stance
    By Josh Richman
    Oakland Tribune
    Article Launched: 07/11/2008 11:38:06 PM PDT

    Rep. Jerry McNerney is now willing to vote for an amendment he'd opposed last year that would bar the federal government from spending money to arrest or prosecute medical-marijuana patients in the states — including California — where medical marijuana is legal.

    "In the past year, the congressman has met several patients with debilitating illnesses that use doctor-prescribed medical marijuana," McNerney spokesman Andy Stone said Friday. "Hearing their stories, he feels that he cannot in good conscience deny doctor-prescribed treatment to a person that experiences excruciating pain on a daily basis."

    Asked whether this means McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will vote for the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment when it's brought forward again in the next few weeks, Stone replied, "That's a fair assumption."

    Dan Bernath, assistant communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said he was thrilled by the news.

    "The support for medical marijuana and for the idea that states ought to be able to make these decisions for themselves ... has grown every year" since 2004, Bernath said Friday. "So it's very encouraging that Congressman McNerney has decided to support patients in his area, but I wouldn't say it's surprising."

    A series of judicial defeats — including the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 ruling in a case brought by Oakland activist Angel Raich — has had medical-marijuana advocates pinning most of their hopes on Congress. The bipartisan amendment to the Science-State-Justice-Commerce Appropriations bill has been introduced in each year since 2003, and takes its name from sponsors Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach. The amendment was defeated in 2007 on a 165-262 vote; it got 163 votes in 2006, 161 votes in 2005, 148 in 2004 and 152 in 2003.

    Half of the House's freshmen Democrats, including McNerney, opposed it last year. But with polls showing Democratic strength in this November's House elections, it's possible some now feel they have a bit more cover if they choose to displease a few conservative constituents this year.

    Still, McNerney's 11th Congressional District — where growing Democratic voter registration still falls 2.4 percentage points short of Republican registration — is widely believed to offer the Bay Area's only truly competitive House race this year. Dean Andal, the Stockton Republican challenging McNerney this November, said Friday he strongly disagrees with McNerney's change of heart on this issue.

    "It's probably hard to explain Jerry's position in our district. Some of our communities, like Stockton, are under assault from drug dealers," Andal said. "I do not believe that federal authorities should be handcuffed in their effort to interdict dangerous drugs including marijuana. ... The problem with medical marijuana is it's a red herring. These medical marijuana stores, so-called, have very low standards, there are people who don't have painful conditions who have ready access. ... Frankly, I think it's an outrage that Jerry would take this position."

    McNerney last year had issued a statement saying his vote against the amendment was based on his conversations with law enforcement officials about the effect of drug use on his district's communities, particularly in San Joaquin County. "We are facing a drug crisis with meth and other drug use on the rise. Until we get a handle on the crippling drug use in our society, I cannot support the relaxation of current drug policy," he said at that time.

    Medical marijuana advocates at that time had dismissed McNerney's explanation as an unfounded excuse for a politically safe vote.

    Other Bay Area House Democrats have supported the amendment for years. Only Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, has consistently opposed it, saying he doesn't believe use of marijuana for medical purposes should be legal, and that the amendment is an attempt to circumvent existing federal law. A Cardoza aide said Friday the lawmaker's stance is unchanged.

    jsknow Active Member

    It's time to remove all the politicians that promote prohibition. How many more lives have to be needlessly devastated or lost? Prohibited drugs are way easier for kids to get than regulated drugs! Prohibition never works it just causes crime and violence. The year alcohol prohibition was repealed violent crime fell by 65 percent.

    On March 22, 1972: The Richard Nixon-appointed, 13-member National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse recommended the decriminalization of marijuana, concluding, "[Marijuana's] relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it."

    THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT MARIJUANA IS A SAFE AND EFFECTIVE MEDICINE. In 1988, after reviewing all evidence brought forth in a lawsuit against the government's prohibition of medical marijuana, the DEA's own administrative law judge (Judge Francis Young) wrote:
    "The evidence in this record clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the Drug Enforcement Administration to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence." ... Judge Francis Young of the Drug Enforcement Administration went on to say: "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known. In strict medical terms, marijuana is safer than many foods we commonly consume." Judge Young recommended that the DEA allow marijuana to be prescribed as medicine, but the DEA has refused.

    The USA spends $69 billion a year on the drug war, builds 900 new prison beds and hires 150 more correction officers every two weeks, arrests someone on a drug charge every 17 seconds, jails more people than any nation and has killed over 100,000 citizens in the drug war.

    In 1914 when there were no prohibited drugs 1.3% of our population was addicted to drugs, today 1.3% of our population is still addicted to drugs but there’s way more crime and violence because of the huge profits prohibition generates. Guns have absolutely nothing to do with using drugs, they have to do with drug prohibition. Al Capone didn’t kill people because he was drunk, he killed people because they got between him and his illegal drug money. The same goes for the drug gangsters of today.

    Drugs today are more potent, more readily available and often less expensive than they were in the early 70’s when Richard Nixon started the war on drugs. Every time you look at the news you see more and more drug busts involving bigger and bigger quantities of drugs, not less and less.

    There’s only been one drug success story in US history, tobacco, by far the most deadly and one of the most addictive drugs. Almost half the users quit because of regulation, accurate information and medical treatment. No one went to jail and no one got killed.

    Not one person in history has ever died from marijuana. Many have died from its PROHIBITION.

    1997 annual American deaths caused by drugs:
    TOBACCO ........................ 400,000
    ALCOHOL ........................ 100,000
    ALL LEGAL DRUGS .......... 20,000
    ALL ILLEGAL DRUGS ....... 15,000
    CAFFEINE ............................ 2,000
    ASPIRIN .................................. 500
    MARIJUANA ............................... 0
    Source: United States Government,
    National Institute On Drug Abuse,
    Bureau Of Mortality Statistics.
    Marijuana And Hemp The Untold Story

    The right; to freedom of religion, free speech, a free press, to keep and bear arms, to be secure in your person, house, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizure, to life, liberty and property, to be protected from having your property taken by the government without due process of law and without just compensation, to confront the witnesses against you, to be protected from excessive bail, excessive fines, cruel and unusual punishment, to vote and many others have been denied to millions of Americans in the name of the drug war.

    If you are called for jury duty and you don’t agree with the law the person is charged with, you have the right to vote not guilty, no matter what evidence is produced. Jurors implementing this right in all non-violent drug cases will shut down the ridiculous laws of prohibition. One juror in each case is all it takes. The bottom line is a juror has the right to judge not only the accused person but the LAW the person is accused of breaking. Don’t be intimidated stick to your position Vote Not Guilty in all non-violent drug cases.

    Even the World Health Organization has documented the Failure of U.S. Drug Policies, read the article here, join the mailing list, watch the videos:
    Internet Explorer: Just Say Know to The Drug War
    Other Browsers: Just Say Know to The Drug War

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