For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

ASA California Director Don Duncan 323-326-6347 or Media Liaison Kris Hermes 510-681-6361

California Medical Marijuana Bill Calls for End to Federal Interference

Resolution urges the President and Congress to develop comprehensive policy

SACRAMENTO - State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco)
introduced a joint resolution late yesterday that urges the federal
to end medical marijuana raids in California and to "create a
comprehensive federal medical marijuana policy that ensures safe and
legal access to any patient that would benefit from it." The
resolution, SJR 14, is coming at a time when the Obama Administration
has signaled a willingness to change federal policy, but has yet to
come forward with an actual implementation plan.

Despite such willingness by the Obama Administration, Senator Leno
points out that, "Patients and providers in California remain at risk
of arrest and prosecution by federal law enforcement and legally
established medical marijuana cooperatives continue to be the subjects
of federal raids." However, once passed, "this resolution will clearly
state the Legislature's opposition to federal interference with
California's medical marijuana law and support for expanded federal
reform and medical research," continued Leno.

Introduction of the joint
resolution comes on the heels of repeated statements made by the Obama
Administration for a "new American policy" with regard to medical
marijuana. However, several Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) raids have occurred in California since the
president took office. "Not only do we need an end to federal
interference in the
implementation of California's medical marijuana law," said Don Duncan,
California Director of Americans for Safe Access, the national medical
marijuana advocacy group sponsoring the legislation. "The entire
country need a sensible,
comprehensive medical marijuana policy."

The joint resolution urges President Obama and Congress to "move
quickly to end federal
raids, intimidation, and interference with state medical marijuana
law." But, it goes further by asking the government to
establish "an affirmative defense to medical marijuana charges in
federal court and establish federal legal protection for individuals
authorized by state and local law..." Because of the 2005 U.S. Supreme
Court decision in Gonzales v. Raich, federal medical marijuana
defendants are prevented from using a medical or state law defense.
"With more than two dozen of these defendants currently being
prosecuted by the Justice Department, each of them facing years in
prison, such a change to Justice Department policy would be timely,
relevant and
critically important," continued Duncan.

The resolution also addresses the need to expand research into the
medical benefits of marijuana, a recommendation of the White
House-commissioned Institute of Medicine report from 1999. Currently, a
federal monopoly on the cultivation of marijuana for research purposes
has stifled the ability to conduct FDA-approved scientific studies. To
address this, the resolution urges the President and Congress "to adopt
policies and laws to encourage advanced clinical research trials into
the therapeutic use of marijuana."

Further information:
Senate Joint Resolution on medical marijuana:
ASA fact sheet on SJR 14:


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