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Medical Marijuana: Important Vote Coming, You Can Help

By John S. James

June 30, 2004

Congress could vote as early as July on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, to prevent the U.S. Department of Justice from raiding, arresting, or prosecuting patients who use medical marijuana in compliance with their state's law. This amendment received 152 votes in the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2003. It could benefit thousands of patients who now fear arrest for legitimate medical use of marijuana, due to a crusade against them by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft -- a crusade currently stopped in California and some other Western states by an appeals court ruling against Ashcroft.

Late news: On June 29, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will review the Appeals Court ruling, known as Ashcroft vs. Raich. The Supreme Court has been hostile to medical marijuana in the past, reflecting the Washington establishment view on this issue. An unfavorable ruling would not change the state laws that allow patients to use medical marijuana, but would allow the Ashcroft crusade to resume in all states, unless Congress passes the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment.

The Marijuana Policy Project has set up a Web page to help constituents contact their congressperson on this issue, at

Drug Reform Information

For additional background on medical marijuana and drug policy reform, see:

Drug Policy Alliance,

Marijuana Policy Project,

American Civil Liberties Union,

ISSN # 1052-4207

Copyright 2004 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.

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