Monday, September 13, 2010

Edtiorial: Tell President Obama that the Ball is in His Court

By Ron Crumpton

For many years, the major push for the legalization of medical marijuana has focused on the individual states, and that push has yielded definite rewards with 14 states and the District of Columbia passing medical marijuana laws.

However, while the fight has brought legal marijuana to patients in those states, it has done very little to bring patients rights for those who choose to use marijuana to treat their ailments.

In a number of these states, patients have been fired for consuming marijuana as a medicine. Patients have been threatened with losing their homes or denied access to federal housing for utilizing a legal, medicinal substance in the privacy of their own homes.

Furthermore, even after the justice department announced that it would no longer pursue patients and dispensaries that are operating within the limits of state law, the DEA continues to conduct raids on medical marijuana patients and facilities. These patients and administrators are then tried in federal court where they cannot even use medical marijuana laws from their state as a defense.

So, while we continue to work on state law, we have to devote ourselves to making changes on federal alternatives.

In 2002, medical marijuana advocates made the most recent petition to have marijuana’s status, as a schedule 1 drug, changed. It has been under review by the Obama administration since May of this year.

The rescheduling of marijuana would be the biggest victory in the history of the medical marijuana movement.

It would codify state law, and force federal authorities to allow those laws to be used by defendants in federal court.

It would make an easier transition for states into the medical marijuana community and would remove criminal penalties for transporting the medicine across state lines and into other states that are starting a medical marijuana program, which a legally grown demand has been hard to supply in most states as they start their programs.

As a legally prescribed drug on the federal level, a number of laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act would protect patients. This would go a long way to prevent patients from having their rights trampled by employers and the numerous agencies of the federal government.

This is an important time!

With the petition for rescheduling marijuana on the president’s desk, now is the time to write the White House to urge them to support this action. If you are a patient, take the time to provide them with names of studies and links that support marijuana’s use for your condition, and tell them that they can no longer claim that cannabis has no medical value. There has been too much positive research on its medicinal value to continue to make this claim.

You can email President Obama, and tell him that he cannot allow this petition to continue to languish for years without a ruling. Tell him that too many people are suffering, risking their safety and risking their freedom for their right to take a medicine that has no constitutional reason for not being available to them to begin with.

Tell him that he promised change in America, and for so many of the sick and injured in America, medical marijuana is the change they were hoping for.

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