DC - April 18 - Congressional Representative Barney Frank (D-MA)

introduced the "Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act," HR 5842,

yesterday, a bill co-sponsored by Representatives Maurice Hinchey

(D-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Ron Paul (R-TX).

The act would change federal policy on medical marijuana in a number of

ways. Specifically, HR 5842 would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule

I drug, which cannot be prescribed, to a Schedule II drug, which would

recognize the medical value of marijuana and create a regulatory

framework for the FDA to begin a drug approval process for marijuana.

The act would also prevent interference by the federal government in

any local or state run medical marijuana program.



versions of HR 5842 have been introduced in prior Congressional terms,

but have never made it out of committee. "It's time that the federal

government take this issue seriously," said Caren Woodson, Government

Affairs Director with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a nationwide

medical marijuana advocacy group working with Mr. Frank and other

Members of Congress to change federal policy. "By disregarding

marijuana's medical efficacy, and undermining efforts to implement

state laws, the federal government is willfully placing hundreds of

thousands of sick Americans in harms way."



addition to rescheduling marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act

(CSA), HR 5842 would provide protection from the CSA and the federal

Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) for qualified patients and

caregivers in states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana.

Specifically, the act prevents the CSA and FDCA from prohibiting or

restricting: (1) a physician from prescribing or recommending marijuana

for medical use, (2) an individual from obtaining, possessing,

transporting within their state, manufacturing, or using marijuana in

accordance with their state law, (3) an individual authorized under

State law from obtaining, possessing, transporting within their state,

or manufacturing marijuana on behalf of an authorized patient, or (4)

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.



December, U.S. House Judiciary Chair John Conyers stated publicly his

concern about the tactics being used by the Drug Enforcement

Administration (DEA) and promised oversight hearings. Since then,

several California mayors have written to Conyers expressing their support for hearings, including the mayors of San Francisco, Oakland, West Hollywood, and Santa Cruz.

Opposition to federal interference in state medical marijuana laws has

also come from multiple city councils, members of the California Board

of Equalization and the state legislature, as well as New Mexico

Governor Bill Richardson.


Further information:

Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, HR 5842:

ASA Fact Sheet on the Escalation of Harmful DEA Tactics:

December 2007 Statement by House Judiciary Chair John Conyers:


from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to Conyers:

Letter from NM Governor Richardson to President GW Bush:



over 30,000 active members in more than 40 states, Americans for Safe

Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of

patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens

promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and

research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by

creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients

and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots

actions, advocacy and services for patients and the caregivers