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Medical Marijuana: The Fight Goes On

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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.

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • Dave. I am happy to hear that Maurice Hinchey remains one of the Good Guys. He is an old friend I worked with (as a photographer) when he was in the NY State Assembly and continued to admire and respect when he entered the US Congress.

    Amazingly, he can pull a widely divergent Congressional District of ardent everythings from Woodstock to Binghamton, factory workers to university professors together so that he gets the job done in a manner not so unlike a JFK.

    There are few such good men in Washington and I applaud him for his usual good sense and courage and you for pointing it out to the world — or at least the blogosphere.

    We still manage to vote for Maurice with absentee ballots just as we have through his multiple NY Assembly terms and, now, (I think) six US Congress terms.

    America needs politicians with courage, fairness and sense. There are a few. He is one.

  • I’m not that familiar with Hinchey since I’m from Texas, but even in the democratic party it takes some guts to stand up and shout that the emperor has no clothes in the context of the ridiculous war on drugs. We’ve got our own heroes down here, of course, most notably Ron Paul who I’m surprised didn’t sign on as a sponsor. Since he’s a doctor his name on the bill might carry some additional weight.


  • Hinchey-Rohrbacher was voted down again today, though it did slightly better than last time. Rest assured, like the Wilmot Proviso, it will come up again and again to haunt the Congress like a ghost pointing an empty sleeve of accusation.

    This is a perfect time to write to your Congressman and demand that he take a stand on the side o of common sense and humanity on this issue. To find out how he or she voted, check the roll call. To send a letter use this form.

    Here’s a copy of the letter I sent to my Congressman:

    To the Honorable Michael T. McCaul:

    Today was a day of highs and lows for me. On the one hand I was very pleased to hear that you had supported the effort to get terrorist nations off of the UN Human Rights Commission, but then dismayed to learn that you had also voted against the Hinchey Amendment.

    As Republicans, we are part of a tradition of independent thought and common sense which goes back to the days of our founding fathers. The Democrats have lost sight of the basic values which our country was founded on and too often these days Republicans who have lost their way forget them as well. One of the most fundamental of those values is that the role of the government is to protect the rights of the people and insure their freedom, not to capriciously restrict their rights in the interests of a political agenda.

    The War on Drugs costs us tens of billions of dollars a year, has had no meaningful impact on the flow of drugs into the US and has made harmless drug users into a giant criminal class which now fills a third of our prisons. What’s even worse is that this irrational prohibition has the further consequence of keeping life-sustaining drugs away from some of the most critically ill people in our society. The medical benefits of Marijuana for those suffering with glaucoma, AIDS and cancer is unquestioned. To deny it to them because of an arbitrary ban bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical industry is literally criminal. It is an outrage which has gone on for far too long.

    I hope that the next time the Hinchey-Rohrbacher amendment comes up – and I promise you it will come up again and again during your term – you will think about the welfare of your constituents and the nation and break from the herd to join those who put the welfare of the people above partisan interests by voting to support of access to medical marijuana for those in real need.

    Dave Nalle

  • Dave, that’s not diesel smoke coming out of your truck?