Federal lawmakers have reintroduced legislation to provide for additional and necessary legal protections for state-authorized medical marijuana patients.
House Bill 1983, the States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, would ensure that medical cannabis patients in states that have approved its use will no longer have to fear arrest or prosecution from federal law enforcement agencies. It states, “No provision of the Controlled Substances Act shall prohibit or otherwise restrict in a State in which marijuana may be prescribed or recommended by a physician for medical use under applicable State law.”
The measure also calls for an expedited rescheduling review by the federal government that would reclassify cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III under the federal Controlled Substances Act, recognizing the plant’s accepted medical use and streamlining the federal approval process for medical marijuana research.
Sixteen states — Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington — and the District of Columbia have enacted laws protecting medical marijuana patients from state prosecution. Yet in all of these states, patients and providers still face the risk of federal sanction — even when their actions are fully compliant with state law. In fact, in recent months federal officials have stepped up their threats against state recognized patients and providers, stating, “The United States Attorneys Office … will vigorously prosecute individuals and organizations that participate in … activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law.”
It is time that we allowed our unique federalist system to work the way it was intended. Patients and their state representatives should have the authority to enact laws permitting the medical use of cannabis — free from federal interference.
Please write your members of Congress today and tell them to stop targeting and prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers. For your convenience, a prewritten letter will be e-mailed to your member of Congress when you enter your contact information below.
Thank you for assisting NORML’s federal law reform efforts.
Support the ‘States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act’