Yet again the House of Representatives is considering a vote on the Hinchey-Rohrbacher Amendment, the Wilmot Proviso of the new millennium. It's an amendment jointly sponsored by a Republican and a Democrat to protect the rights and safety of private users of medical marijuana and exempt them from criminal prosecution. It doesn't legalize pot and doesn't even generally decriminalize marijuana. All it does is make sure that those suffering with AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and other medical conditions won't be thrown in jail for using the one viable treatment available for their conditions. It restricts federal authorities from interfering with state laws that protect medical marijuana users in the 11 states which have passed medical marijuana laws.
The Drug Policy Alliance has done an excellent job of raising public awareness of this issue, and their site has all the information you need to write your representative and urge them to support this bill. I could go on and on about the failure of the War on Drugs and the ridiculousness of spending tens of billions of dollars a year to turn what should be a victimless crime into a massive industry of organized crime and exploitation, but I'm sure you've heard that story before.
Instead I wanted to praise the vision and courage of Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and the other Congressmen who've actually taken a stand on principle to support this amendment against the positions of the ruling elites of both political parties. Like David Wilmot 150 years ago, they have placed principle ahead of politics and are doing the right thing – again and again – in the conviction that it will eventually lead to victory. It worked for Wilmot. He proposed his amendment almost 100 times prior to the Civil War and it was voted down every time. But Wilmost rests happy in his grave because the slaves were eventually freed. Let's hope that Rohrbacher, Hinchey and the thousands they are working to help don't have to endure that same kind of struggle before sanity prevails.