AMENDMENT NO. 6 OFFERED BY MR. FARR
Mr. FARR. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Amendment No. 6 offered by Mr. Farr:
Insert before the short title at the end the following:
TITLE VIII--ADDITIONAL GENERAL PROVISIONS
SEC. 801. None of the funds made available in this Act to
the Department of Justice may be used to prevent the States
of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland,
Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington from implementing State
laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana in those States.
The CHAIRMAN. Points of order are reserved, and pursuant to
the order of the House today, the gentleman from California
(Mr. Farr) and the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Wolf) each
will control 10 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California (Mr.
Mr. FARR. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may
(Mr. FARR asked and was given permission to revise and extend
Mr. FARR. Mr. Chairman, the purpose of this amendment is
very straightforward. In simple terms, the Farr-Rohrabacher-Hinchey-Paul
amendment prohibits the use of funds in the bill from preventing
States that have medical marijuana laws from implementing
As a result, the States have medical marijuana laws on the
books they can implement, regulate and enforce them, just
like now. States that do not have medical marijuana laws on
the books remain subject to the overarching Federal law.
This amendment does not stop law enforcement officials from
prosecuting illegal use of marijuana. This amendment does
not encourage the use of marijuana. This amendment does not
encourage the use of drugs in children. This amendment does
not legalize any drugs. This amendment does not change the
classification of marijuana. This amendment is recognized
as States' rights to oversee the medical scope of practice
of doctors in their States, to prescribe drugs as doctors
see as necessary for medical conditions.
Today's Los Angeles Times points out that the Justice Department's
medical marijuana war seems increasingly out of step with
the whole country. Last fall, the Supreme Court upheld a lower
court ruling barring Federal officials from prosecuting doctors
for their recommendations.
Just 2 weeks ago, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian
Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and other
mainstream religious groups supported doctors' rights to prescribe
pot as a when-all-else-fails treatment for the seriously ill.
The best way to thwart casual use of this drug is to let doctors
prescribe it in closely circumscribed and regulated ways such
as the States do.
Now, there are nine States that have passed these laws.
The voters are speaking, and they are doing it more in every
State. Just recently Vermont. Alaska, California, Colorado,
Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have
enacted State medical marijuana laws. Because of these State
laws, thousands of patients are able to alleviate their pain
and suffering without fear of arrest by State or local authorities.
The threat of arrest by Federal agents, however, still exists.
In the past, the Federal Government has impeded research on
medical use of marijuana, even though thousands of patients
have testified, explained, and acknowledged that it helps
relieve some of the debilitating symptoms, such as nausea,
pain, loss of appetite associated with serious illness.
Despite Federal admonitions against marijuana, the American
people support medical marijuana and pretty overwhelmingly.
Most national polls show the support around 70 percent.
This amendment is not necessarily about the actual medical
purpose of marijuana, though I know scores of doctors have
attested to marijuana's medical benefits. In States where
medical marijuana is legal, thousands of licensed physicians
have recommended marijuana to their patients. This amendment
is not about legalizing drugs, though some will argue that
it should be.
No. What this amendment is about is States rights. In so
many areas we trust States rights. And I think of us here
in the United States Congress. We allowed States to draw our
district boundary lines.
We allow States to set the fee we have to pay to run for
office. We allow the States to create the primary procedures
for getting elected to Congress. We allow the States to fashion
Medicaid packages. We allow States to license doctors to practice.
We trust the States to do what is best for their residents
of that State. When it comes to health care policy or palliative
care, the care of alleviating pain, nine States of the United
States have determined that it is appropriate public policy
to allow the use of marijuana as a prescribed treatment.
If Congress respects States rights in so many other areas,
why does it not respect it with regard to medical marijuana?
Mr. Chairman, this amendment would prevent the Federal Government
from interfering with state medical marijuana laws. It would
end the DEA raids on medical marijuana patients and caregivers
who are acting in accordance with state law. It would not--let
me repeat--it would not prevent the DEA from arresting individuals
who are involved in marijuana-related activities unconnected
to medical use.
Here is the simple question posed by this amendment: Should
the Federal Government arrest individuals who are trying to
alleviate their own suffering or the suffering of others in
compliance with state law?
I am only too familiar with the tension between DEA law
enforcement and state and locally-sanctioned marijuana cooperatives
in California. On September 5, 2002 in Santa Cruz, California--my
district--dozens of heavily armed DEA agents stormed into
the home of Valerie and Mike Corral where the cooperative
garden of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM),
a medical marijuana hospice, is tended by collective members.
They destroyed 167 plants, which would have been distributed--free
of charge--to more than 200 seriously and terminally ill WAMM
members. Although the Corrals did not resist, the agents pointed
loaded rifles to their heads, forced them to the ground, and
handcuffed their hands behind their backs. The DEA agents
kept them handcuffed in their home for 4 hours before taking
them 30 miles to the Federal courthouse in San Jose where
they were eventually released without being charged. Meanwhile,
Federal agents handcuffed the Corral's over-night guest, Suzanne
Pfeil, a WAMM member who was disabled by polio, and detained
two other members, one with AIDS and a caregiver. Pfeil happened
to be sleeping when the raid occurred. Despite the fact that
her leg braces and crutches were in plain sight, the agents
demanded she stand, which she was unable to do with her hands
cuffed. Pfeil's blood pressure shot up and she experienced
chest pains. Agents then refused to call an ambulance. All
this pain, confusion and fear--yet WAMM was operating with
the full knowledge and consent of state and local authorities.
Many people who oppose medical marijuana say that there
is only anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness. But these
anecdotes cannot be simply dismissed; they are the stories
of real people who are suffering. Just this morning in Roll
Call, there was a powerful example of this. Talk show host
Montel Williams discussed his struggle to live with excruciating
pain caused by multiple sclerosis. Montel Williams, a former
Marine and decorated naval officer, who made anti-drug PSA's
for the White House drug czar's office, explained in this
article that marijuana is the ``only'' drug that allows him
to function on a day-to-day basis. Now if he is using marijuana
with his doctor's advice and is following state law, why on
earth should we waste Federal resources trying to prevent
him from alleviating his own pain? And taking it a step further,
if someone else is growing that marijuana for him and is following
state law why should we take that medicine away from him by
interfering with the grower?
The answer most opponents of this amendment will give is
that marijuana simply is not a medicine. But this had become
an absurd claim. First of all, both the Netherlands and Canada
medical marijuana laws, with marijuana available at pharmacies
in the Netherlands. In the United States, nine states have
medical marijuana laws that allow doctors to recommend marijuana
to their patients. And in those states, hundreds of doctors
have recommended marijuana to thousands of patients.
Even our Federal Government has acknowledged the therapeutic
benefits of marijuana. In 1999, the National Academy of Sciences'
Institute of Medicine conducted a study funded by the White
House Office of National Drug Policy. The principle investigator
from the study said upon its completion, ``We concluded that
there are some limited circumstances in which we recommend
smoking marijuana for medical use.'' An even stronger endorsement
came from the DEA in 1988. Then, Administrative Law Judge
Francis Young, after an exhaustive, 2-year study of marijuana,
called for its rescheduling on the grounds that ``marijuana,
in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically
active substances known to man.'' He concluded, even 60 years
ago, that marijuana offered a ``currently accepted medical
use in treatment.''
Over the past year, medical marijuana has gained even wider
acceptance. It has been endorsed by the American Nurses Association,
whose 2.6 million members care for the Nation's most seriously
ill patients; by the United Methodist Church, the Nation's
third largest religious denomination; by the New York and
Rhode Island Medical Societies; and by many other health care
organizations. Other longtime supporters of medical marijuana
include the New England Journal of Medicine, the American
Bar Association, and the American Public Health Association.
Do opponents of this amendment honestly believe the American
Nurses Association, the New York State Medical Society, United
Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, and others are supporting
this issue because they hope to legalize marijuana for all
purposes? Of course that isn't the reason. These organizations
support legal access to marijuana for medical purposes because
they know one simple fact: it helps sick people.
Other opponents of this amendment say that they will not
support medical marijuana until more research is complete.
The problem is that the Federal Government has effectively
blocked research. To cite just one example, in July 2001,
the University of Massachusetts applied to the DEA for a license
to manufacture marijuana for medical research. This is the
same kind of license a company called GW Pharmaceuticals applied
for in England a few years ago. While GW Pharmaceuticals has
now concluded Phase III trials and is nearing market approval
for its marijuana spray, the DEA--3 years later--has not even
bothered to deny the University of Massachusetts' license.
Of course, they have not granted it, either. They have just
let the application sit in limbo.
Antoher application to the Federal Government, requesting
permission to import just 10 grams of marijuana for research
has languished for 10 months. Does our government think 10
grams of marijuana is going to increase the drug problem in
this Nation? Of course not. The Federal goal seems to be to
purposely to block research that would prove--or disprove,
once and for all--that marijuana has therapeutic benefits.
But let's assume for a minute that all of the obstacles
to research were suddenly removed. That does not get us past
the immediate question: Should the Federal Government, over
the course of the
next year, while research is proceeding, arrest patients
and caregivers who are complying with state law in order to
alleviate their own suffering or the suffering of others?
Another objection raised by opponents of this amendment
is that passing it would send the wrong message to children.
It would make children think that marijuana is not dangerous.
Let me tell you something. Children know how dangerous marijuana
is already. Allowing seriously ill patients to use it will
not change that. And associating the use of marijuana with
AIDS and chemotherapy is not likely to increase its appeal.
On the other hand, if you deny cancer, AIDS, and MS patients
the opportunity to use this drug to alleviate their pain--while
permitting the medical use of powerful addictive drugs like
vicodin and oxycontin--the only message you are sending to
children is that you are intellectually dishonest and completely
lacking in compassion.
The truth is, where medical marijuana is legal, there has
been no increase in marijuana
[Page: H5302] use among teens. In fact, in my home state
of California, teen use of marijuana has dropped 34 percent
among 7th graders, 44 percent among 9th graders, and 21 percent
among 11th graders since the California medical marijuana
initiative passed in 1996. The same Institute of Medicine
study described earlier noted, ``there is no evidence that
the medical marijuana debate has altered adolescents' perceptions
of the risks associated with marijuana use.'' Listen closely
today to hear whether opponents of this amendment back their
warning about sending the wrong message to children with any
evidence demonstrating that medical use has caused a change
in attitude about recreational use; I doubt there will be
any with any scientific weight.
Mr. Chairman, this amendment is reasonably drafted and built
on scientific evidence, judicial review, and medical studies.
It reflects the grass roots demand and legislative will of
nine of our United States. It is time for Congress to recognize
the powerful dynamics of this issue and adopt my amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to this amendment.
This is a bad amendment. It will be bad for the country.
Marijuana is the most abused drug in the United States.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services,
more young people are now in treatment for marijuana dependency
than for alcohol or for all other legal drugs combined. The
amendment does not address the problem of marijuana abuse
and possibly, perhaps probably, makes it worse by sending
a message to young people that there can be health benefits
from smoking marijuana.
In testimony before the Committee on Government Reform,
the DEA provided an example of how marijuana trafficking is
occurring under the guise of medicine. And there is so much
more I could say, and we have the gentleman from Indiana (Mr.
Souder) here and the gentleman from California (Mr. Ose).
This is not a good amendment. The message that this sends
to the young people is absolutely wrong. This was overwhelmingly
defeated the last time it came up. I urge defeat of the amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. FARR. Mr. Chairman I yield 3 minutes and 15 seconds
to the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher).
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Chairman, today I call for a broad
coalition of my colleagues to support the Hinchey-Rohrabacher
amendment to H.R. 4754, introduced by the gentleman from California
Over the past 8 years, 10 States have adopted laws that
decriminalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. These
States have passed these laws to allow the use of marijuana
to relieve intense pain that accompanies several debilitating
diseases, including AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and
glaucoma. In seven of these States, such as my own State of
California, these laws were adopted by a direct referendum
of the people.
The Federal Government, however, has made it nearly impossible
for these States to implement their own laws, the laws that
the people voted for. The DEA has conducted numerous raids
on homes of medical marijuana users, prosecuting patients
who were using marijuana in accordance with State law to relieve
intense pain and other symptoms caused by a variety of illnesses.
Despite these State laws, the Justice Department is working
overtime to put sick people and those who would help them
It is time for the Federal Government to respect the rights
of individual States to determine their own health and criminal
justice policies on this matter. A growing movement of Americans
from conservative to liberal is calling for the Federal Government
to keep its hands off the States that wish to allow their
citizens to use marijuana for medical purposes. In my State,
the people have spoken overwhelmingly. Both Republican and
Democrat counties voted for medical freedom. Our new Governor,
Arnold Schwarzenegger, has made it clear in regard to the
Federal Government's interference with California's medical
marijuana policy in his message to Washington, and what is
it? It is ``Hasta la vista, baby.'' Even more poignant, Tom
McClintock, Arnold's leading conservative opponent in the
recent recall election, has spoken out even more strongly
against the Federal interference with California's medical
marijuana laws. The Governor of Maryland also, our former
Republican colleague, Robert Ehrlich, has signed Maryland's
new medical marijuana law and has lobbied Members of Congress
on this issue.
As a conservative, I am increasingly troubled by the federalization
of criminal law that has occurred in recent years. It seems
that more and more crimes are being declared to be Federal
crimes. While sometimes this is appropriate, for example in
immigration law, which is a federally mandated issue by our
Constitution, but criminal justice constitutionally is the
domain of the State and local government. This is especially
true when the people of these many States determine by their
own vote the policy concerning this specific personal behavior.
It is time for the conservatives and liberals to join together
in calling for the Federal Government to keep its hands off.
Liberals, moderates, and conservatives should unite in order
to protect the freedom of our people. This is a freedom issue,
and it is also a humanitarian issue. We should make sure that
the local people have a right to determine if the doctors
in their community, and that is what we are talking about,
the doctors are able to prescribe marijuana for people who
are suffering from AIDS and suffering from cancer and other
types of diseases. This is not fair, and it is not humane
to go the other way; and it is un-American to centralize this
type of criminal justice matter in the hands of Federal bureaucrats
rather than the people who vote in our specific communities.
Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman
from Texas (Mr. Burgess).
Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to point out
that as a physician before I came to Congress, medical marijuana
is actually not necessary because the active ingredient in
medical marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. This is
a compound that is readily available not in a handful of States
as medical marijuana is, but in every State of the Union.
It is legal today. It is called Marinol. It is a pill. It
is easy to take. And people who suffer from cancer, people
who have anorexia from chemotherapy, people who suffer from
AIDS may use Marinol today to their benefit.
Mr. Chairman, it just challenges the imagination. As a physician,
I wrote a lot of prescriptions for morphine for patients who
were in pain. I would have never recommended to a patient
that they go home and score some opium and smoke it. That
would be an inappropriate way for them to deliver the drug.
This drug is delivered in a humane and compassionate way.
It is delivered in a way that deals with the symptoms it is
designed to deal with, and we do not explode the drug culture
in this country by doing so.
Mr. FARR. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman
from Texas (Mr. Paul).
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding
Mr. Chairman, I, too, am a physician from Texas, but I have
a little different opinion about Marinol. No doctor that I
know of ever prescribes Marinol.
I think marijuana is a helpful medical treatment for the
people who have intractable nausea. I would like to point
out this is not something strange that we are suggesting here.
For the first 163 years of our history in this country, the
Federal Government had total hands off, they never interfered
with what the States were doing. They interfered only after
1938 through tax law. So this is something new.
The States' rights issue is almost a dead issue in the Congress,
but we ought to continue to talk about it, and I am delighted
somebody has brought this up.
But if you do have compassion and care for patients, they
ought to have a freedom of choice. I think that is what this
is all about, freedom of choice.
I would like to point out one statistic. One year prior
to 9/11 there were 750,000 arrests of people who used marijuana;
there was one arrest for a suspect that was committing terrorism.
[Page: H5303] Now, that, to me, is a misdirected
law enforcement program that we could help address here by
at least allowing the States to follow the laws that they
already have on the books.
Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman
from Georgia (Mr. Burns).
Mr. BURNS. Mr. Chairman, in 2001, the FDA approved the pain
killer OxyContin, knowing that it had a high probability of
being diverted for illicit use. We felt that the gain was
worth the risk. The abuse, unfortunately, of OxyContin is
now a nationwide epidemic.
In spite of the fact that, unlike OxyContin, there are safe
and effective and legal alternatives to smoking pot for pain
relief, we are now considering the use of marijuana for its
The active ingredient, as the gentleman from Texas (Mr.
Burgess) pointed out, is readily available in an FDA-approved
capsule. This pill delivers THC, it does not carry the dangers
inherent with smoking marijuana, nor does it undermine the
law enforcement efforts that fight illegal drug use.
Mr. Chairman, the legalization of medical marijuana is simply
the first step in a scheme to overturn all the substance abuse
laws that we work hard to enforce today. We need to vote ``no''
on legalization of marijuana and its use in America.
Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute of the 3 minutes
to the gentleman from California (Mr. Ose)
Mr. OSE. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding
Mr. Chairman, I rise in absolute, 100 percent opposition
to this amendment. I have listened to the arguments of my
friends from Texas and my friend from California in one case
and my friend from California in the other, and I have to
say that their argument on States' rights is a unique application
as it relates to so-called ``medical marijuana.'' But I have
not yet heard a single bit of testimony dealing with whether
or not there is any medical value to the application of marijuana
in this case.
Now, the so-called phrase ``medical marijuana'' is a misnomer.
It was invented by the people who passed the proposition in
California that, frankly, hoodwinked the voters of California
into voting in favor of it. But I just want to run through
a couple of things here.
The FDA looks at all sorts of prescription drugs and pharmacological
treatments, and they have looked at marijuana, and by and
large, we have deferred to the FDA on all these analyses.
But, all of a sudden, when it comes to so-called ``medical
marijuana,'' the FDA is no longer competent. But I do want
to enter into the RECORD that the FDA, in fact, did look at
marijuana as a medical substance and found absolutely no value
whatsoever to its use.
Now, the FDA has, in fact, looked at Marinol, in which the
active ingredient in so-called ``medical marijuana'' is present,
THC, and has approved that for use in treating nausea and
pain and the like, and it is readily available by prescription,
a true prescription, from a doctor.
Let us dwell for a minute in California, which I am familiar
with, on this so-called ``medical marijuana'' and the facade
that people go through to obtain it.
First of all, the referendum requires that a doctor issue
a so-called prescription. However, the doctor refuses to issue
a prescription on a prescription form for so-called medical
marijuana. They write it on a piece of blank paper, because
the doctors know that it is not a prescription, it is a facade
perpetrated upon the people of California that this has any
medical qualities whatsoever.
Now, my friend from Indiana is going to share with you the
story of a tragic occurrence in San Francisco, and I am not
going to jump the gun on him, because this is absolutely heartbreaking,
what he is going to tell you. But I do want to tell you, that
incident is not singular in nature.
The fact of the matter is we have children, young people
across this country, watching you and me and our peers across
this country as it relates to the use of so-called medical
marijuana, and if you think for one minute that they are going
to turn a blind eye to our acquiescence, that just because
it happens to be a little bit difficult to tell people ``No,
you are not going to be able to smoke dope,'' just because
it happens to be a little bit difficult to tell people that,
that we are going to roll over and pass this prohibition on
funds, just begs the imagination about what leadership really
Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, who has the right to close?
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Virginia has the right
Mr. FARR. Mr. Chairman, I have a parliamentary inquiry.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman will state his parliamentary
Mr. FARR. Mr. Chairman, I thought the author of the amendment
has the right to close.
The CHAIRMAN. The chairman of the subcommittee, controlling
time in opposition to the amendment, has the right to close.
The gentleman from California (Mr. Farr) has 1 3/4 minutes
remaining, and the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Wolf) has
4 minutes remaining.
Mr. FARR. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman
from California (Ms. Woolsey).
Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment
because my mother had glaucoma and we bought her marijuana
because it was a relief, and that was before this bill was
passed in the State of California.
I support this amendment because it respects State authority,
because the people in our State believe medical marijuana
is a way to relieve those suffering from cancer, from glaucoma,
from AIDS, from spastic disorders and other debilitating diseases.
This amendment will do only one thing: It will stop the
Justice Department from punishing those who are abiding by
their State laws. It changes no law.
Mr. Chairman, I ask my colleagues, support this amendment
so that those who suffer from debilitating diseases can get
the relief that they need, and they can get it without fear
of the Federal Government.
Mr. FARR. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my
Mr. Chairman, I would like to respond to the comment of
the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Wolf). I am going to read
here that in the State of California, teen use of marijuana
has dropped 34 percent among seventh graders, 44 percent among
ninth graders and 21 percent among eleventh graders since
the California medical marijuana initiative passed in 1996.
Also, I would like to point out that this is not such a
radical amendment. It only affects the States that have State
laws, that have the enforcement. We have not heard from law
enforcement opposing this. We have heard from the American
Nursing Association, the United Methodist Church, the New
York Medical Society, the Rhode Island Medical Society, the
New England Journal of Medicine, the American Bar Association,
the American Public Health Association and the Episcopal Church.
They all support this amendment.
Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, I yield the balance of my time to
the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Souder).
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman is recognized for 4 minutes.
(Mr. SOUDER asked and was given permission to revise and
extend his remarks.)
Mr. SOUDER. Mr. Chairman, first, do not let any Member kid
themselves; if you cannot enforce a Federal law, you do not
have a Federal law. This would eliminate our ability to enforce
marijuana laws in States that have passed this.
My friend from California alluded to a very sad case in
the State of California. When we as Members use phrases like
``medical marijuana'' and responsible officials imply that
drugs like marijuana are medical, tragedies like this happen.
Irma Perez, age 14, the late Irma Perez, was overdosing
on Ecstasy. Her friends had heard that marijuana was medical,
and instead of getting her to a doctor, where they said she
would have been saved, they gave her marijuana on top of her
Ecstasy and she died.
When we have silly debates like this, quite frankly, we
bear responsibility. Yesterday, in Ohio, six people died,
including a family of four, two adults and two children, when
a young person on marijuana and alcohol collided into a truck
that hit two other vehicles and killed six people.
If you have medical marijuana laws, like has happened in
a court case in the State of Oregon, drug testing laws for
truck drivers have been thrown out. It is now being appealed
higher, but it is not even clear that you can be assured that
our congressional drug testing law for truck drivers will
stand up, given the way the courts are interpreting this.
In California, we have a doctor that has given 348 patients
under this medical marijuana, including for anxiety and restless
leg syndrome. In Oregon, we have a doctor who gave it to 4,000
people over the last few years. We have another doctor in
California who uses it, we actually had this person at our
hearing, for ADD and hyperactivity, even though she admitted
she has no evidence that it worked for those things, but she
felt it would make them feel better.
You either believe you have an FDA or you do not have an
FDA. We hear about all kinds of other things that FDA cracks
down on. Either you have a national FDA or you do not have
Furthermore, just last week in Oakland, California, they
pulled over a group of guys with about 66 pounds of marijuana.
They said it was for medicinal purposes. They found where
it was coming from, and they found a warehouse. In this warehouse,
they found millions of dollars of marijuana where the people
started fleeing, and then these advocates of medical marijuana
in California said, Oh, it was so medical.
The person who owned the building had already been busted
for transporting illegal drugs. He had lost his license as
a pawnbroker. But, no, this was medical marijuana. Some estimate
that up to 90 percent of the cases, this is the pro-medical
marijuana cases, of marijuana use in California, would be
classified as medical.
That is why we have letters, and I will include these in
the records, from the Community Antidrug Coalition, and Dr.
Dean, who coordinates these efforts, says he opposes it; the
Fraternal Order of Police; the Partnership for a Drug-Free
America, who plead on behalf of the drug treatment and prevention
groups in America to oppose this; the Drug-Free America Foundation;
and the U.S. Department of Justice, which is concerned that
they will not be able to enforce any drug laws if we do not
allow the Federal Government to enforce.
We need to defeat this amendment because it is the wrong
message to our youth, it is the wrong message to our law enforcement,
it is the wrong message to our drug treatment people, it is
the wrong message to the people in the streets of their neighborhoods
trying to reclaim their often crime-ridden neighborhoods from
drug dealers and addicts in their areas, and it is, quite
We fought a Civil War over nullification. States do not
have the right. If we can have States nullify an existing
Federal law, then on what grounds can this not happen under
the same precedent, a lack of enforcement on environmental
laws, of civil rights laws, of the Americans with Disabilities
Act, of any law? Because once a State can nullify a Federal
law by saying, We cannot enforce it, you do not have a Federal
This is an amendment fraught with difficulties and should
be overwhelmingly defeated by both sides for a multitude of
Mr. Chairman, I include for the RECORD the letters referred
to earlier in my statement.
COMMUNITY ANTI-DRUG COALITIONS OF AMERICA,
Alexandria, VA, July 1, 2004.
Hon. MARK SOUDER,
House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice,
Drug Policy and Human Resources, Rayburn House Building, Washington,
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: On behalf of the 5,000 coalition members
that Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) represents,
I am writing to strongly urge you to oppose an amendment to
be offered by Representative Maurice D. Hinchey (D-NY) to
the Commerce, Justice, State, Judiciary and Related Agencies
FY 2005 Appropriations bill which would effectively prohibit
enforcement of Federal law with respect to use of ``medical''
marijuana. I strongly urge you to oppose this amendment not
only because marijuana is an illegal, addictive Schedule I
drug, with no medicinal value, but also because this sends
the entirely wrong message to the youth of America.
Marijuana is not a harmless drug: it is the most widely
abused illicit drug in the nation. According to the Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Treatment
Episode Data Set, approximately 60% of adolescent treatment
cases in 2001 were for marijuana abuse. Research shows that
the decline in the use of any illegal drug is directly related
to its perception of harm or risk by the user. Advertising
smoked marijuana as medicine sends the wrong message to America's
youth--that marijuana is not dangerous. Congressman Hinchey's
amendment goes even further by removing the ability of law
enforcement officials to enforce Federal law. The efforts
of the drug legalization movement, to promote the myth of
``medical'' marijuana and to stifle the efforts of law enforcement
agencies to enforce Federal law severely dilutes the prevention
efforts that community anti-drug coalitions across America
are undertaking to communicate marijuana is dangerous, it
has serious consequences, and is illegal.
Congressman Hinchey's amendment is offered under the guise
of compassion towards seriously ill patients, when in reality
it is a ``Trojan horse'' to legalize marijuana. To date, the
FDA has not approved nor has it found any medicinal value
in smoked marijuana, which is why it remains a Schedule I
controlled substance. Furthermore, in the States that have
legalized marijuana for so-called ``medicinal'' purposes,
seriously ill, elderly patients are not the only patients
receiving marijuana--children are also. At a hearing before
your Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human
Resources, Dr. Claudia Jensen, of Ventura, California, testified
that she prescribes marijuana as medicine for adolescents
under her care who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit
Disorder (ADD). In a policy statement from the American Academy
of Pediatrics stating their opposition to the legalization
of marijuana, they state that ``Any change in the legal status
of marijuana, even if limited to adults, could effect the
prevalence of use among adolescents.'' What kind of a message
are the youth of America receiving when doctors willingly
give children marijuana--it tells children that marijuana
is not a dangerous drug.
Mr. Chairman, I strongly urge you to help us protect our
nation's youth and oppose any and all amendments limiting
the enforcement of the Federal law pertaining to marijuana
use. Thank you for considering my views.
Arthur T. Dean,
Major General, U.S. Army, Retired,
Chairman and CEO.
-- GRAND LODGE, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE,
Washington, DC, July 6, 2004.
Hon. MARK SOUDER,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and
Human Resources, Committee on Government Reform, House of
Representatives, Washington, DC.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I am writing on behalf of the membership
of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our strong
opposition to an amendment which may be offered to H.R. 4754,
the appropriations measure for the Departments of Commerce,
Justice, State and the Judiciary, which is scheduled to be
considered on the House floor this week. The amendment, which
was offered last year by Representative Maurice D. Hinchey
(D-NY), would effectively prohibit enforcement of Federal
law with respect to marijuana in States that do not provide
penalties for the use of the drug for so-called ``medical''
In these States, Federal enforcement is the only effective
enforcement of the laws prohibiting the possession and use
of marijuana. Federal efforts provide the sole deterrent to
the use of harder drugs and the commission of other crimes,
including violent crimes and crimes against property, which
go hand-in-hand with drug use and drug trafficking. Federal
investigations of marijuana producers also serve to disrupt
larger drug trafficking organizations, particularly in the
State of California where marijuana is sometimes traded for
precursor chemicals for methamphetamines, and in the Sate
of Washington, which is a significant gateway for high-potency
marijuana that can sell for the same price as heroin on many
of our nation's streets.
Such an amendment threatens to cause a significant disruptive
effect on the combined efforts of State and local law enforcement
to reduce drug crime in every region of the country. On behalf
of the more than 318,000 members of the Fraternal Order of
Police, we urge its defeat. If I can be of any further help
on this issue, please feel free to contact me or Executive
Director Jim Pasco through my Washington office.
PARTNERSHIP FOR A DRUG-FREE AMERICA,
New York, NY, July 7, 2004.
Hon. FRANK WOLF,
Chairman, House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and State,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This letter is to express our opposition
to an amendment being proposed to the Commerce, Justice, State
FY 2005 appropriations bill, scheduled for consideration today.
Congressman Maurice Hinchey is proposing an amendment that
again seeks to prohibit the enforcement of
federal law pertaining to marijuana in states that have
decriminalized the use of marijuana for medicinal application.
The proposed amendment is likely to have the unintended effect
of handicapping federal law enforcement agents from enforcing
all laws pertaining to marijuana use and trafficking. Therefore,
we encourage you and members of the committee to oppose this
The issue of medical applications of smoked marijuana is one
for the medical and scientific communities to evaluate. As
you know, state-based referenda on this issue are not homegrown
initiatives, but rather are being driven and financed by a
handful of national organizations that seek to legalize marijuana
and other drugs. The position of the medical community is
quite clear on this issue. The American Medical Association,
for example, calls for further adequate and well-controlled
studies of smoked THC for serious medical conditions, but
the AMA recommends that marijuana be retained in Schedule
I of the Controlled Substances Act pending the outcome of
The last thing we need to do is making marijuana more available
on the streets of America. Please ensure that federal law
enforcement officials can enforce federal laws relevant to
Thank you for your consideration.
Stephen J. Pasierb,
President, Chief Executive Officer.
-- NATIONAL NARCOTIC OFFICERS'
West Covina, CA, July 1, 2004.
Hon. MARK SOUDER,
Chairman, Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on
Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, Rayburn
House Office Building, Washington, DC.
DEAR CHAIRMAN SOUDER: I am writing on behalf of the forty
state narcotic officers associations and more than 60,000
state and local law enforcement officers that are represented
by the National Narcotic Officers' Associations' Coalition
(NNOAC) to offer our strong opposition to an amendment that
will be offered in the United States House of Representatives
that would effectively prohibit the enforcement of Federal
marijuana laws in states that do not provide penalties for
the use of what has been deemed ``medical'' marijuana.
As you know, despite opposition by the American Medical
Association and other credible medical and health organizations,
drug legalization activists have chosen to seek the medicalization
or legalization of marijuana by relying on the emotions of
local voters rather than science based data and the recommendations
of the medical community. This reckless approach has resulted
in several states adopting medical marijuana laws and relying
on public emotion rather than science to approve crude, smoked
marijuana for medical use. This action has circumvented the
patient protections provided in the Pure Food and Drug Act,
which have served to keep Americans safe from dangerous or
untested remedies since it was enacted in 1906.
Because marijuana enforcement by Federal officials is now
the only effective enforcement of the marijuana laws in several
states where medical initiatives have all but legalized the
drug, the passage of this amendment would have disastrous
results. This enforcement of marijuana laws provides a strong
deterrent to the use of marijuana, which also helps reduce
the use of hard drugs and the resulting property and violent
crimes. Enforcement also sends a strong message to our young
people that marijuana use is dangerous and unacceptable. And
finally, law enforcement provides a social stigma to marijuana
use that helps to prevent the normalization of drug use. Without
this enforcement, many people will be lured into believing
that marijuana use is safe and poses no threat of addiction.
Federal investigations of marijuana cultivators also serve
to disrupt larger drug trafficking organizations, particularly
in the state of California, where marijuana is sometimes traded
for precursor chemicals for methamphetamine into the state
of Washington, which is a significant gateway for high potency
marijuana that can sell for the same price as heroin. The
HINCHEY Amendment threatens to cause a significant disruptive
effective on state and local law enforcement of both drug
laws and of other crimes affecting public safety in states
where it would apply.
The members of the NNOAC strongly encourage you and your
colleagues in the Congress to support their local law enforcement
officers, health-care workers, educators, and community anti-drug
activists, who are dedicated to working towards safe drug
free communities by vigorously opposing this dangerous amendment.
The passage of the HINCHEY Amendment would have a catastrophic
effect and would result in increased drug use and related
violence, marijuana related DUI collisions, lost productivity
and work place accidents.
Please accept the thanks of our 60,000 members for all that
you and your colleagues do to support law enforcement and
to help us keep this great nation safe and drug free.
Ronald E. Brooks,
-- July 6, 2004.
DEAR REPRESENTATIVE: I have dedicated the past three decades
to fighting the war on drugs and as such, I am urging you
to oppose the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment because of the
staggering effect it will have on society.
I have helped form public policy in the United States' campaign
against drugs through participation in the White House Conference
for a Drug Free America, as a member of the Governor's Drug
Policy Task Force in Florida and as a board member of DARE
Florida (Drug Abuse Resistance Education.) I presently reside
in Rome while my husband serves as the United States Ambassador
to the Republic of Italy.
With this experience, I can tell you that drug legalization
efforts abound today in the United States with deceptive campaigns
that exploit the sick and dying. Medical excuse marijuana
is the most common tactic used by legalization proponents.
This new amendment intends to prohibit the U.S. Justice Department
(including the DEA) from interfering with state medical excuse
marijuana laws. If passed, the pro-drug lobby will once again
undercut the federal government.
In reference to using the medical marijuana excuse, there
has never been controversy about the use of purified chemicals
in marijuana to treat any illness; however, marijuana cigarettes
are not medicine. The false portrayal of smoked marijuana
as a helpful medicine has contributed to the increased use
of marijuana and other drugs by young people. Sixty percent
of youths in drug treatment today are there for marijuana
In areas where medical excuse marijuana is legal, people
are toking up under the guise of treating conditions such
as premenstrual syndrome, athlete's foot and migraines. The
Institute of Medicine (IOM), found marijuana effective in
addressing symptoms of nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety.
However, the same report concluded that, ``smoked marijuana
is unlikely to be a safe medication for any chronic medical
Our nation is under attack by extremely well-financed groups,
whose sole intention is to profit from drug legalization.
They don't care about civil liberties or our nation's children.
They only care about getting rich at the cost of a deteriorated
society. They frequently use compassion for the sick and dying
as one of their manipulative tactics to normalize drug use.
These groups would like nothing more than to eliminate governmental
regulation. It is imperative that state government be accountable
to federal government, especially when it comes to drug policy.
As a drug prevention and policy expert, caring mother and
grandmother, I urge you--do not vote for the Hinchey-Rohrabacher
BETTY S. SEMBLER,
Founder and Chair,
Drug-Free America Foundation.
-- U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS,
Washington, DC, July 7, 2004.
Hon. FRANK WOLF,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the
Judiciary, Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives,
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: The Department of Justice would oppose
any amendment to appropriations legislation preventing the
Justice Department or the Drug Enforcement Administration
(``DEA'') from enforcing the Controlled Substances Act with
respect to marijuana either generally or in specified States.
Any such limitation would interfere with the protection of
public health and safety against marijuana, which is dangerous
to both users and non-users and is the most widely abused
illicit drug in America. Moreover, a provision applying only
to certain States would unfairly and inappropriately prevent
uniform enforcement of Federal law nationwide.
Marijuana is a widespread health and social concern. More
young people are currently in treatment for marijuana dependency
than for alcohol and all other illegal drugs combined, and
mentions of marijuana use in emergency room visits have risen
176 percent since 1994, surpassing those of heroin. Marijuana
also can have a dangerous impact on non-users, as demonstrated
by the problem of drugged driving. Marijuana affects alertness,
concentration, perception, coordination, and reaction time--skills
that are necessary for safe driving. Use of marijuana and
other illicit drugs also comes at significant expense to society
in terms of lost productivity, public health care costs, and
accidents. Accordingly, the Justice Department and the DEA
continue to vigilantly enforce Federal laws against marijuana
trafficking. Any limitation on enforcement of the Controlled
Substances Act with respect to marijuana would jeopardize
our efforts to continue reducing youth drug use and to protect
The same considerations are important for persons who, contrary
to controlling Federal law, would use smoked marijuana for
purported medical purposes. States are free to define criminal
acts and impose corresponding penalties, under State law,
in the manner they see fit. However, it does not follow that
the absence of penalties in a particular State for marijuana
use in these circumstances ``legalizes'' conduct that remains
clearly illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. Moreover,
this issue is not only one of legal form; it also is a compelling
problem of public health and safety. Smoked marijuana has
not been approved for use
under the rigorous Federal drug approval process conducted
by the Food and Drug Administration (``FDA''), which prohibits
drugs from being sold or distributed in interstate commerce
as medicine unless they have been proven in sound clinical
studies to be both safe and effective for their intended use.
To date, no sound scientific study has shown that smoking
marijuana is safe and effective for any disease or condition.
The Institute of Medicine has concluded that ``[t]here is
little future in smoked marijuana as a medically approved
medication,'' and the British Medical Association linked its
use to greater risk of heart disease, lung cancer, bronchitis,
and emphysema. The DEA, in conjunction with the FDA, has approved
and will continue to approve research into whether discrete
ingredients of marijuana can be adapted for medical use. However,
with respect to smoked marijuana, the clear weight of evidence
is that it is not medicine--it is harmful.
Finally, any amendment that would restrict enforcement and
prosecution in certain specifically named States, but not
in others, would prevent the Department of Justice from uniformly
enforcing the law throughout the United States. As a practical
matter, residents of States listed in such an amendment would
be exempted from Federal enforcement and persecution for cultivation,
distribution, and use of marijuana in certain circumstances,
while residents of other States would continue to face potential
criminal liability for precisely the same conduct. We also
note that the amendment would effectively establish a classification
among residents of different States with respect to the enforcement
of the Federal drug laws. Consequently, Federal persecution
of persons in non-covered States for marijuana-related drug
violations potentially could be subject to challenge under
the equal protection requirements of the Due Process Clause
of the Fifth Amendment, particularly in States that may enact
future medical marijuana laws that are not covered by the
language of this provision.
Again, the Department of Justice opposes any amendment restricting
enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act. We appreciate
your continued support of our efforts to continue meeting
the goals of the President's strategy to reduce youth drug
use in America.
If we may be of further assistance in this matter, please
do not hesitate to contact us. The Office of Management and
Budget has advised that there is no objection to this report
from the standpoint of the Administration's program.
William E. Moschella,
Assistant Attorney General.
Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment
offered by my colleagues SAM FARR, DANA ROHRABACHER, MAURICE
HINCHEY, AND RON PAUL, and I salute their courage in bringing
it to the House floor.
This amendment to the Fiscal Year 2005 Commerce, Justice,
State, and Judiciary Appropriations bill would prohibit the
Justice Department from spending any funds to undermine state
medical marijuana laws. It would leave to the discretion of
the states how they would alleviate the suffering of their
Eleven states, including my home state of California, have
adopted medical marijuana laws since 1996. Most of these laws
were approved by a vote of the people. More than 70 percent
of Americans support the right of patients to use marijuana
with a doctor's recommendation.
I am pleased to join organizations that support legal access
to medical marijuana, including the American Academy of Family
Physicians, the American Bar Association, the American Nurses
Association, the American Public Health Association, and the
AIDS Action Council.
Religious denominations supporting legal access to medical
marijuana or state discretion on this issue include the Episcopal
Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the National Council
of Churches, the National Progressive Baptist Convention,
the Presbyterian Church, the Union for Reform Judaism, the
United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist Association,
and the United Methodist Church.
Proven medicinal uses of marijuana include improving the
quality of life for patient with cancer, multiple sclerosis,
and other severe medical conditions.
In my city of San Francisco, we have lost nearly 20,000
people to AIDS over the last two decades, and I have seen
firsthand the suffering that accompanies this awful disease.
Medical marijuana alleviates some of the most debilitating
symptoms of AIDS, including pain, wasting, and nausea.
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine issued a report that
had been commissioned by the Office of National Drug Control
Policy. The study found that medical marijuana ``would be
advantageous'' in the treatment of some diseases, and is ``potentially
effective in treatment pain, nausea, and anorexia of AIDS
wasting and other symptoms.''
To fight the war on drug abuse effectively, we must get
our priorities in order and fund treatment and education.
Making criminals of seriously ill people who seek proven therapy
is not a step toward controlling America's drug problem.
Again, I commend Mr. FARR, Mr. ROHRABACHER, Mr. HINCHEY,
and Mr. PAUL for their leadership on this issue, which affects
the health and well-being of so many Americans.
Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, I rise to support the Farr/Rohrabacher/Hinchey
amendment, which will end federal raids on medical marijuana
patients and providers in states where medical marijuana is
Despite marijuana's recognized therapeutic value, including
a National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine report
recommending its use in certain circumstances, federal law
refuses to recognize its medicinal importance and safety.
Instead, federal penalties for all marijuana use, regardless
of purpose, includes up to a year in prison for the possession
of even small amounts.
But since 1996, eight states have enacted laws to allow
very ill patients to use medical marijuana in spite of federal
law. The present administration, however has sought to override
such state statutes, viewing the use of marijuana for medicinal
purposes in the same light as the use of heroin or cocaine.
In 2002, federal agents raided the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical
Marijuana or WAMM, an organization that under California state
law legally dispensed marijuana to patients whose doctors
had recommended it for pain and suffering. Eighty-five percent
of WAMM's 225 members were terminally ill with cancer or AIDS.
The federal government should use its power to help terminally
ill citizens, not arrest them. And states deserve to have
the right to make their own decisions regarding the use of
medical marijuana. I strongly urge my colleagues to support
The CHAIRMAN. All time has expired on this amendment. The
question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from
California (Mr. Farr).
The question was taken; and the Chairman announced that
the noes appeared to have it.
Mr. FARR. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote