Pubdate: Sun, 29 Nov 2009
Source: Marblehead Reporter (MA)
Copyright: 2009 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Author: Steven S. Epstein


To the editor:

An open letter to John Tierney:

Congressman, you consistently vote to amend the appropriations bill 
for the Department of Justice to prohibit the use of appropriated 
funds to interfere with the implementation of medical marijuana laws 
in states with such laws. In doing so, you join with all other 
members of Massachusetts' delegation, except Stephen Lynch.

Back in 2005, you co-sponsored with Barney Frank, Michael Capuano, 
James McGovern, John Olver and 33 other members of Congress 
legislation that would codify such limits on the Department and 
classify marijuana as a Schedule II drug. Despite urging from me and 
other reform activists every session since you have failed to become 
a co-sponsor. You sit on the fence professing you will "monitor this 
bill's progress closely" without acknowledging that the more sponsors 
the more likely the bill will make progress.

As you know from our correspondence over the years, Congress placed 
marijuana in Schedule I at the Nixon Administration's urging. A 
petition to reschedule filed in 1972 did not receive a hearing due to 
DEA delay until 1986. Following the hearing, a DEA administrative law 
judge ruled in 1988 that marijuana did not meet the legal criteria of 
a Schedule I prohibited drug and should be rescheduled. The then DEA 
administrator rejected that determination. A decision in the D.C. 
Court of Appeals, based on a legal standard that grants the 
administrator broad discretion affirmed in 1994. Earlier this month 
the American Medical Association voted to urge "that marijuana's 
status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with 
the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and 
development of cannabinoid-based medicines."

Despite the convincing body of science affirming the now 23-year-old 
recommendation of the administrative judge, Washington bureaucrats 
continue to delay on subsequent petitions to reschedule. Millions of 
citizens nationwide who could find relief from severe chronic and 
acute illnesses must resort to the black market, and in states where 
it is legal, suppliers in compliance with state law must fear federal 

Congress put marijuana in Schedule I and can remove it.

Mr. Tierney, are you afraid a majority of your constituents will 
think less of you if you become a co-sponsor? If that is the source 
of your reticence then you are out of touch with the opinion of the 
voters in the district. Mr. Tierney, please do the right thing and 
become a sponsor of H.R.2835, an act to provide for the medical use 
of marijuana in accordance with the laws of the various States.

Steven S. Epstein Esq.

West Street

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