States’Medical Marijuana Patients Protection Act
States’Medical Marijuana Patients Protection Act
Thebill HR 689 or the States’ Medical Marijuana Patients ProtectionAct seeks to bring changes to the federal with regard to the use ofmarijuana. New laws have enacted in many US states allowing marijuanause for medical and leisurepurposes. However, federal laws have stilllagged behind and this produces a conflict with state laws.Modernization of the Federal marijuana policy is necessary to bringbetter understanding and uncertainty (Health Canada, 2015). The Billseeks to have Congress review the facts about how marijuana is usedand come up with appropriate laws that will regulate its use. If thecurrent situation is not rectified, it will lead to more wastage oflaw enforcement resources and provide a legal environment that is notconsistent with the reality on the ground. This easy will show theneed to have federal authorities change their attitude towardsmarijuana and itsuse.
Thereare about 2 million people in US jails for the cases related tohandling or use of marijuana. Other jails the world do not have sucha high number of inmates jailed for marijuana use.About have offederal inmates are in jail for drug related cases. This high numberof inmates has led to the cost of maintaining correctional facilitiesin the US (Mahmoud, 2007). The cost of maintaining these facilitieshas risen more than higher education spending in the last twodecades.Most of the members of public feel marijuana use should bepermitted particularly for medical reasons. Almost half of thepopulation feels that marijuana should be legalized for recreationaluse while 70% want it to be used for medical reasons.
Thereis a rapid increase of legal use of marijuana medically in manystates across the nation even if it isunlawful under federal laws.Many patients in medical facilities have been treated effectivelyusing marijuana. Marijuana is effective in suppressing nausea commonin chemotherapy patients and reducing the effects of multiplesclerosis and reduces pain in the body (Ethan, 2013). Many votershave approved the use of marijuana in and its support is spreadingfast in other regions. The perception of Americans over thelegalization of marijuana has been changing over the years.Previously, many peopledid not accept the idea. Today, there are manymore who are embracing the idea.
Despiteall the controls over marijuana use, studies have showed that almosthalf of Americans have used marijuana at some point in their livesfor recreational or medical purposes. Marijuana isthe third mostcommon drug in the US with only alcohol and tobacco before it.Despite the restrictionsby federal law, it is the most illegally usedcommon drug (Health Canada, 2015). When compared with other legalizeddrugs such as alcohol and tobacco, marijuana has fewer adverseeffects. It is less addictive and does not cause as many deaths ashose related to alcohol and tobacco use. There is a lot of conflictregarding marijuana use and it is only Congress that has the power toclear it all.
Accordingto the Bill, states will be allowed to enact their own laws withoutinterference from federal authorities. Each state will be free toenact their own allows according to the circumstances they operate in(Ethan, 2013). Once the legislation has been passed, it will providean avenue for state authorities to tax the businesses that willemerge. Proponents of the Bill argue that a regulatory and tax systemshould be devised for marijuana just like the one used for tobaccoand alcohol. Currently marijuana is listed as a drug under ControlledSubstances Act. Rep Earl Blumenauer is pushing for its removal fromthe Act.
Businessin the marijuana industry as not treated in the same way as otherbusinesses even in states where marijuana has been legalized. It isnot easy for such businesses to acquire loans from banks and otherfinancial institutions. The Bill proposes to have businesses involvedin marijuana to be treated as any other business and access the sameprivileges. When tax barriers and banking restrictions are removed,more businesses that have been dealing with marijuana illegally willoperate more openly (Mahmoud, 2007). As a result, there will be fewercriminals for the authorities to deal with, thus allowing them toconcentrate their efforts and resources to other areas.
Inorder to have the Bill pass through Congress, Rep. Blumenauer hasformed a group that will educate the Congress members and their staffabout facts on marijuana usage. This information will allow theCongress to pass a comprehensive package that will address the issuesbeing raised about marijuana use (Health Canada, 2015).Currently,Senate has passed its approval on the Omnibus Spending Bill. In thisBill, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been stopped from meddlingwith implementation of medical marijuana laws in various states thatare doing it.
Themove will definitely have an effect on various drug related cases.Among marijuana related cases the Kettle Falls Five is probably theone that received most attention. The accused were accused ofhandling marijuana yet they were growing it for their own use inaccordance to the laws of their state (Ethan, 2013). The five areexpected to be sentenced but their lawyers will definitely filemotions in the backdrop of the recent developments. The five accusedwere using it mainly for medical reasons and not for any otherpurposes.
Apartfrom the Bill being sponsored by Rep Earl Blumenauer, the followingare some other Bills that are designed with a similar purpose.
Relatedlegislation introduced or co-sponsored by Congressman Blumenauer:
H.R. 689 – States` Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act–Protects people from federal interference as long as they are within state law.
H.R. 710 – Truth in Trials Act – Allows accused medical marijuana patients to provideproof in federal court that they acted within state law.
H.R. 784 – States` Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act – Prohibits the DOJ taking seizure of property belonging to people operating medical marijuana clinics in accordance with state law.
H.R. 501 – Marijuana Tax Equity Act of 2013
H.R. 499 – Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013
H.R. 525 – Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013
H.R. 964 – Respect States` and Citizens` Rights Act of 2013 –
H.R. 1523 – Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013
H.R. 1635 – To establish the National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy
H.R. 2240 – Small Business Tax Equity ActH.R. 2652 – Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2013
Inconclusion, there is need to change federal laws to accommodate thechanges that have been introduced by some states. This will harmonizethe laws and help those who are in medical need of the drug.
EthanB Russo (2013). Cannabisand Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and TherapeuticPotential.Routledge.p. 28.ISBN 978-1-136-61493-4
MahmoudA. ElSohly (2007). Marijuanaand the Cannabinoids.Springer.p. 8.ISBN 978-1-59259-947-9
"MedicalUse of Marijuana".HealthCanada.Retrieved 12January2015