Americans for Safe Access
For Immediate Release:* April 18, 2008
*Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act Introduced Yesterday in Congress
*/HR 5842 would reschedule marijuana for medical use, end federal
interference in state laws/
*Washington, D.C. *-- Congressional Representative Barney Frank (D-MA)
introduced the "Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act," HR 5842,
yesterday, a bill co-sponsored by Representatives Maurice Hinchey
(D-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Ron Paul (R-TX).
The act would change federal policy on medical marijuana in a number of
ways. Specifically, HR 5842 would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I
drug, which cannot be prescribed, to a Schedule II drug, which would
recognize the medical value of marijuana and create a regulatory
framework for the FDA to begin a drug approval process for marijuana.
The act would also prevent interference by the federal government in any
local or state run medical marijuana program.
Similar versions of HR 5842 have been introduced in prior Congressional
terms, but have never made it out of committee. "It's time that the
federal government take this issue seriously," said Caren Woodson,
Government Affairs Director with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a
nationwide medical marijuana advocacy group working with Mr. Frank and
other Members of Congress to change federal policy. "By disregarding
marijuana's medical efficacy, and undermining efforts to implement state
laws, the federal government is willfully placing hundreds of thousands
of sick Americans in harms way."
In addition to rescheduling marijuana under the Controlled Substances
Act (CSA), HR 5842 would provide protection from the CSA and the federal
Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) for qualified patients and
caregivers in states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana.
Specifically, the act prevents the CSA and FDCA from prohibiting or
restricting: (1) a physician from prescribing or recommending marijuana
for medical use, (2) an individual from obtaining, possessing,
transporting within their state, manufacturing, or using marijuana in
accordance with their state law, (3) an individual authorized under
State law from obtaining, possessing, transporting within their state,
or manufacturing marijuana on behalf of an authorized patient, or (4) an
entity authorized under local or State law to distribute medical
marijuana to authorized patients from obtaining, possessing, or
distributing marijuana to such authorized patients.
In December, U.S. House Judiciary Chair John Conyers stated publicly his
concern about the tactics being used by the Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) and promised oversight hearings. Since then,
several California mayors have written to Conyers expressing their
support for hearings, including the mayors of San Francisco, Oakland,
West Hollywood, and Santa Cruz. Opposition to federal interference in
state medical marijuana laws has also come from multiple city councils,
members of the California Board of Equalization and the state
legislature, as well as New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.
Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, HR 5842:
ASA Fact Sheet on the Escalation of Harmful DEA Tactics:
December 2007 Statement by House Judiciary Chair John Conyers:
Letter from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to Conyers:
Letter from NM Governor Richardson to President GW Bush:
# # #
With over 30,000 active members in more than 40 states, Americans for
Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of
patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens
promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and
research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating
policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and
researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots
actions, advocacy and services for patients and the caregivers.
Americans for Safe Access
1322 Webster Street, Suite 402
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510-251-1856 x307
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest
national member-based organization of patients,
medical professionals, scientists and concerned
citizens promoting safe and legal access to
cannabis for therapeutic use and research.