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Local lawmakers back medical marijuana bill

Three Bay Area House members are among the 13 original cosponsors of a bill to ease federal restrictions on marijuana and end federal interference in states’ medical-marijuana programs.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., late Thursday introduced HR 2835, the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, which would move marijuana from Schedule 1 – the federal government’s list of most-restricted drugs, classified as having no medical value – to Schedule 2, which includes drugs which may have accepted medical use. The bill also would prevent interference by the federal government in any local or state run medical marijuana program.

The bill basically is identical to Frank’s HR 5842 from the 110th Congress, which never made it out of its first subcommittee. But many medical marijuana advocates believe the Obama Administration – which has said it won’t prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers operating within the parameters of state law – will be friendlier to such bills.

“We are encouraged by the federal government’s willingness to address this issue and to bring about a more sensible and humane policy on medical marijuana,” said Caren Woodson, government affairs director with Americans for Safe Access, an Oakland-based nationwide advocacy group. “It’s time to recognize marijuana’s medical efficacy, and to develop a comprehensive plan that will provide access to medical marijuana and protection for the hundreds of thousands of sick Americans that benefit from its use.”

HR 2835 would provide protection from the Controlled Substances Act and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act for qualified patients and caregivers in states with medical-marijuana laws, preventing these federal statutes from prohibiting or restricting a physician from prescribing or recommending marijuana for medical use; an individual from obtaining, possessing, transporting within their state, manufacturing, or using marijuana in accordance with their state law; an individual authorized under State law from obtaining, possessing, transporting within their state, or manufacturing marijuana on behalf of an authorized patient, or; 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.

Among the bill’s 13 original cosponsors are George Miller, D-Martinez; Pete Stark, D-Fremont; and Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma. Republicans Ron Paul of Texas and Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach also are co-sponsors.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR

    Why stop with marijuana? Let’s distribute LSD tabs to the entire House of Reprehensibles and see what happens next.

  • billy graves

    Whoa! This is—–(speechless) exciting new day for me.

    More exciting if passed.

    I just hope NC can get a move on it, as I hope NY as well. PA all those states, just out of respect for the NE, theyve sacrificed so much.

  • BJD

    If you give LSD to the house, you haved to give Xanex and Vicodin to the public.

  • babs

    WTF is wrong with your comment. Marijuna is NOT LSD retard. DUH.