|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
JUNE 29, 2004
|CONTACT: Drug Policy Alliance
Tony Newman, 646-335-5384
Bill Piper, 202-669-6430
Talk-Show Host and Medical Marijuana Patient Montel Williams to Urge Congress This Thursday to Legalize Medical Marijuana
WASHINGTON - June 29 - Responding to growing conflict between the states and the federal government over the issue of medical marijuana, Rep. Hinchey (D-NY) and Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA) will offer an amendment to a House spending bill next Wednesday (July 7th) that would prevent the U.S. Justice Department from undermining state efforts to provide terminally ill and chronic pain patients access to doctor-recommended medical marijuana. The amendment would prohibit the Justice Department from spending any money on arresting or prosecuting medical marijuana patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. 152 members of Congress voted for a similar amendment last year. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide later this year whether or not federal laws prohibiting the use of marijuana for medical reasons are unconstitutional.
This Thursday, July 1st talk-show host Montel Williams, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and uses medical marijuana, will urge members of Congress to support the Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment.
What: Luncheon Congressional Briefing with Montel Williams (lunch provided)
When: Thursday, July 1, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Where: B-338 Rayburn House Office Building
Its outrageous that Montel Williams and thousands of other Americans are treated as criminals because they use medical marijuana to relive their pain and suffering, said Bill Piper, Director of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. The real criminals are federal bureaucrats who keep cancer, AIDS, and MS patients from the medicine they need and the members of Congress that fail to act.
· Eleven states have adopted medical marijuana laws since 1996 - most of them by a vote of the people. (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington)
· Over 70% of voters support the right of patients to use marijuana with a doctors recommendation - including substantial majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.
· The Institute of Medicine has determined that nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety all can be mitigated by marijuana. Allowing patients legal access to medical marijuana is supported by the American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, American Bar Association, the Whitman-Walker Clinic, and Kaiser Permanente, among other groups.
· The U.S. Justice Department continues to waste millions of tax dollars and scarce law enforcement resources arresting patients and caregivers for medical marijuana - even in states where it is legal.