Pubdate: Thu, 23 Jun 2005
Source: Georgetown Record (MA)
Copyright: 2005 Community Newspapers Inc.
Author:  Steven S. Epstein


To the editor:

The  Supreme Court decided earlier this month that Congress has the power to
prohibit  the growing and possession of marijuana for medical use in
compliance with state  law. The decision written by "liberal" Justice
Stevens expressed hope that  through "the democratic process, in which the
voices of voters allied with these  respondents may one day be heard in the
halls of Congress." Nine days  later the House of Representatives rejected
161 - 264 a bipartisan amendment to  next year's appropriations for the
Justice Department that would have  effectively reversed the Supreme Court's
decision. One hundred  and sixty-one votes is the most ever received in
Congress on this issue. Except  for Stephen F. Lynch, Massachusetts' nine
other representatives were among the  161. Federal elected officials are
starting to hear the public on medical  marijuana, as well they should given
the passage of most medical use laws by  initiative.

With the  defeat of the amendment attention turns to H.R. 2087, the
States Rights To  Medical Marijuana Act, reintroduced by Barney Frank,
with Michael Capuano, James  McGovern and John Olver among the
earliest co-sponsors. This bill would  reclassify marijuana as a
Schedule 2 substance with recognized medical benefits,  force the
federal government to stay out of the lives of persons complying with
their state's medical cannabis laws, and would permit states to grow
their  citizens' supply.

To those  who illicitly use medical cannabis in Massachusetts this
would be a blessing,  because since 1991 Massachusetts law has
permitted its use, but only if in the  state program. That program
requires a legal source and the federal government  refuses to provide

If you  think that John Tierney, given his favorable vote on the
amendment, should be a  co-sponsor, he needs to hear it from you.

Steven S.  Epstein

West Street Georgetown
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