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House Republicans move to block medical marijuana law

Jason ChaffetzReps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) announced Wednesday afternoon that they've introduced a resolution to disapprove the city law legalizing medical marijuana.

That is, of course, their right as members of Congress: City laws must undergo 30 legislative days of Hill review before becoming law.

But Chaffetz (pictured) and Jordan sure took their sweet time filing their resolution. The marijuana bill, according to D.C. Council records, was sent to Congress on June 4, and the 30-day period is expected to end in late July.

Then again, the resolution has about as much chance of passing as the following pieces of legislation, all of which are now stuck in committee:

  • H.R.2608: "To define marriage for all legal purposes in the District of Columbia to consist of the union of one man and one woman," sponsored by Jordan
  • H.R.4430: The "District of Columbia Referendum on Marriage Act of 2010," sponsored by Chaffetz
  • H.J.RES.54: "Disapproving the action of the District of Columbia Council in approving the Jury and Marriage Amendment Act of 2009," sponsored by Rep. Paul C. Broun (R-Ga.)
  • H.J.RES.72: "Disapproving the action of the District of Columbia Council in approving the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009," sponsored by Chaffetz

Most observers of Congress expect a serious challenge to any District law to come not through a joint resolution -- which has to be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president -- but rather through the appropriations process, where spending riders are regularly attached to budget legislation. Such a rider was what kept medical marijuana under wraps for 12 years after District voters approved it by referendum in 1998.

"[W]hile derivatives of marijuana are available in pill form for medicinal purposes, smoked marijuana is a health danger, not a cure, and therefore remains a harmful and dangerous drug for people of all ages," Chaffetz said in a statement.

Photo by Charles Dharapak/Associated Press

By Mike DeBonis  |  June 23, 2010; 5:35 PM ET
Categories:  The District  
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Comments

While Journey Healing Centers (Utah and Arizona) supports giving critically ill patients medical marijuana, we believe the legalization risks outweigh the benefits. We're concerned about the long-term health risks, including increased substance abuse, relapses and addictions to harder drugs. Journey Healing Centers opposes the Arizona Medical Marijuana Proposition and California's Proposition to legalize marijuana for 21+ on Nov ballots. If you have any drug or alcohol addiction questions, call our Free 24-Hour Hotline to speak with an Addiction Specialist: 1-866-774-5119

Posted by: JourneyHealingCenters | June 23, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"smoked marijuana is a health danger, not a cure, and therefore remains a harmful and dangerous..." Circular reasoning is reassuring and therefore I am comfortable with it. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is not fit to make decisions on behalf of the people, and therefore the people should not allow him to make decisions for them on their behalf. I think I got it!

Posted by: rubblebeam | June 23, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

People who are dying of cancer do not think or care about long term addiction.

Think about that sentence you idiot politicians.

Just wait until some of you goobers are in your 5th week of chemo and literally begging for any type of relief. the i hope someone hands you one of these print articles and then tells you sorry buddy but it is illegal.

Posted by: PennyWisetheClown | June 23, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

What amazes me more than anything is, how does this under informed dipsy doodle think he is qualified to manage MY body? What he does not know about cannabis would fill volumes!

I am not even the least bit concerned about what he is doing with his body in private and I think it is something of a curiosity that he is so obsessed with mine!

Posted by: retropatriot | June 23, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

typical GOP BS........the science is IN, cannabis is medicine.

Make It Legal Make It Green/WHEN 10,000 PEOPLE MAIL $4.20 TO THE IOWA BOARD OF PHARMACY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjH61Gw_AcI”

Posted by: RevRayGreen | June 23, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I can't claim to really care whether medical marijuana is legal in DC. What gets me is this group of Republicans -- complaining about the federal government telling their States what to do -- now trying to tell people they don't even represent how to live their lives.

Posted by: BDeutch | June 23, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Pain care in the US is still in the very primitive stages and all of us Americans must come to the realization that "there by the grace of God, goes I". It's all about compassion which seems like an endangered animal here among the Republicans and some Democrats/Independents. Life is full of the unpredictable...this should keep all of us humble and compassionate to other Americans.The "bell" will toll for each of us in turn in this very brief human life. This we must remember.

Posted by: timeforhonesty | June 23, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Im a resident of Ohio, and i suffer from MS. Ive smoked cannabis from a very young age. At 16 i had a motorcycle accident that put me in a wheelchair, thats tough to deal with at that age, one day i was actually going to commit suicide due to being in the shape i was in, but a friend stopped by my place and smoked a joint with me, and that brought me back to reality and made me second think killing myself. Throughout 22 years i continued to smoke cannabis and used that to deal with the pain i had in my leg, also i had a very good work history at the end of my work history, i was a Executive Representative for a division of KRAFT foods. In april of 09 my battle with MS came full force and i was unable to work. Now i draw a social security check each month, although im gratefull to get that, it sucks not being able to work. Now with MS, thankfully ive smoked marijuana and know where to get it. Cannabis helps me with tremors, constipation, pain, depression, optic neuritis. And here is my Rep for Ohio downing a medical marijuana act. This makes me feal real bad for others here in Ohio that suffer with MS and then have a person like this speaking for me

Posted by: kubato71 | June 23, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Come Nov. vote these idiots out of Washington. I have heart complications, depression,stress dysfunction,and hyper tention. I smoke Marijuana so I dont have to take addictive pain medications. Im a recovering alcoholic and drug addict clean and sober for 10 years. I smoke pot regurly with no desire to drink or drug.

Posted by: meyerfriedman | June 24, 2010 5:18 AM | Report abuse

We aren't entitled to full voting rights, but congress can intervene whenever they don't like what they see. Hello? Is this mic on? I have no need for medical pot, but there are people that would see pain relieved by using it. Don't reverse a decision made by people of this city for people of this city.

Posted by: skinfreak | June 24, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Once again the plantion owners chime in. Keep your mits off of the District. The party of the Daddy State continues to tell the rest of us how we're going to live.

Posted by: jckdoors | June 24, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

What about the harmful, dangerous addiction of tobacco? At least marijuana has the potential to relieve symptoms associated with illnesses and their treatments. I don't smoke it, but I don't see why the same group of people who continually yell that "gov't needs to stop telling the people what to do" will say in the same breath that "gov't should keep seriously ill people from having access to relief."

It's only marijuana, people... pot... less medically harmful and addictive than cigarettes. It's also less endangering to society than alcohol, as long as you don't consider the channels you may have to go through to get it.

Posted by: mwstevenson | June 24, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Chaffetz isn't a doctor and I don't need/want him making medical decisions for me. Utah and Ohio sure know how to pick lame representives who spend their time showboating and intruding into other peoples lives.

Posted by: MarilynManson | June 24, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Forget medicine.

Weed should be legal for recreation. Weed should be legal for industry. Weed should just be legal.

If weed were legal, there would be huge benefits for society.

First, since marijuana would be legal to sell, this would take the weed trade out of the hands of criminals and all but eliminate the violence associated with the illegal growing and trade in marijuana. The alcohol prohibition is the PERFECT historical analogy: when booze was illegal, it was in the hands of Capone and his ilk. Before and after, it was and has been controlled by legitimate, regulated corporations that are held legally responsible for the quality of their product. When was the last time you heard of someone from Jack Daniels murdering someone from Jim Beam?

Second, marijuana could be regulated to ensure that it met federal purity and safety standards, thus eliminating the deaths and injuries created by tainted weed.

Third, marijuana could be taxed and make them government some money so instead of wasting BILLIONS in a futile war on drugs that has lasted for decades and has obviously NOT WORKED in stopping people from using weed or we would not be having this discussion.

Legalizing weed does NOT somehow mean that we must tolerate gangs of pot-heads roaming our streets anymore than the fact that alcohol is legal means that we tolerate drunk driving or public intoxication, so don't fall for that false argument of the anti-weed crowd. People would be allowed to use pot responsibly, like alcohol, but would be punished if they abuse it and it leads them into anti-social or dangerous behavior, again JUST LIKE ALCOHOL!

Next they'll tell you that weed is a 'gate-way' drug that leads users to try harder drug. Another false argument! If someone uses heroin, of course they've probably used weed before. Thanks to the UTTER FAILURE of the current policy to stem the trade in marijuana, pot is universally available and nearly everyone tries it. Most people who use pot NEVER go on to other drugs. Furthermore, chances are that anyone who uses coke, meth or heroin probably tried caffeine, tobacco and/or alcohol before they tried one of those: does that mean that coffee, cigarettes and beer must somehow lead inexorable to heroin and meth?

Besides, what right does the GOVERNMENT have in telling US what we can do with our own bodies. Weed, in and of itself and used responsibly, hurts NO ONE but its user. Where is the Constitutional justification? What do we ban next? Booze? Smokes? Guns?

Weed has been proscribed for over eighty years and millions upon millions STILL smoke it. There is NOT ONE good reason to continue this ridiculous prohibition and myriad reasons to lift it. I submit that it is time to reexamine our policy at its very root, time to stop doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result!

Posted by: andrew23boyle | June 24, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

All marijuana should be legal... period! There is simply no good reason for it to be illegal. The war on pot hurts society far more than marijuana ever could.

This movement is simply indicative of the ignorance of House Republicans. Allow me to dispel a myth about the pill forms of medical cannabis. The derivatives of marijuana in pill form are far less effective for medical purposes than the natural plant form (which if vaporized or cooked into food poses very few health risks). Why is the pill form being pushed on the public? Could it be the fact that pharmaceutical companies aren't allowed to patent a plant? They can only patent that which has been purchased or internally generated.

Furthermore, medical marijuana threatens to hurt pharmaceutical sales because it creates a safer alternative to many of the drugs they push on the public. Current pharmaceutical medical treatment for multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, pain for cancer patients, etc can be extremely dangerous and habit-forming. Look beyond the ignorance and corruption.

Posted by: dajew405 | June 24, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

ASSHAT POLITICIANS DOING WHAT ASSHAT POLITICIANS DO.

Posted by: LDude | June 24, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to sound vicious, but I hope that those Congressmen who oppose the medical use of marijuana contract a disease for which marijuana is the only way to ease their pain. Then they will finally understand the need to allow medical use of this drug. Why should so many people suffer unbearable pain because so many of our elected officials find it necessary to pander to the most ignorant amongst us?

Posted by: dl49 | June 24, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

It's a plant, that grows naturally... Needs NO processing or chemical enhancement... Why is everyone in power so afraid of this stuff when it's benefits are so readily spelled out in so many scientific and medical reports?

These clowns need to open their eyes and minds to what the people want. Or get voted out for someone who will.

Posted by: ericroks | June 24, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Legalize Pot and TA IT,TAX IT,TAX IT!!!
Home rule NOW!! -those rednecks in congress know nothing about medicine.George Washington smoked and grew pot!!

Posted by: lsf07 | June 24, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Marijuana is probably a lot safer than many of the bogus herbal products that are manufactured and distributed from guess where--UTAH! Herbal products are big business in Utah. That's Why Sen. Orrin Hatch made sure that herbal products do not have to be subjected to FDA testing for purity, SAFETY and effectiveness. Some of these herbals contain dangerous amounts of heavy metals. Use at your own risk, thanks to Utah politicians.

Posted by: PepperDr | June 24, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

... a "joint" resolution. Giggle !

Posted by: ashafer_usa | June 24, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JourneyHealingCenters | June 23, 2010 6:30 PM

Of course this business is against legalization, that's a threat to its financial bottom line, unnecessary suffering be damned.

Posted by: kingcranky | June 24, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I wrote those clowns and gave them a piece of my mind. The funny thing is this, they proudly represent their districts and take great measures that only their voters can contact them. They then go stick their noses in business well outside of their territory.

I will not have these conservative yahoos (or anyone else for that matter) tell me what is best for me. I am fully capable of making that decision.

Posted by: ericroks | June 24, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Only a Republican could support the tobacco industry and oppose medical marijuana.

Posted by: info53 | June 24, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Man I'd expect that from the democrats not the republicans. Regardless our Tea Party belief is that less government interference is better. For the most part Republicans fill this agenda but occasionally one or two will fall out of line with our agenda which is clearly the case with Jason Chaffetz and Jim Jordan.

Posted by: Datacation | June 24, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Let's see - Chaffetz is saying 'let the people vote' on a measure which restricts civil rights (marriage equality), while at the same time denying the vote of the people on medical cannabis, where 69% of District voters approved.

Posted by: actupdc | June 24, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I thought Republicans were supposed to be against a Big Brother Government that told people what was good for them. I suppose that only applies to commercial transactions, not to morality.

Posted by: t11123 | June 24, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Alcohol prohibition in the US run from 1919 to 1933

Now google 'The Great Wall Street Crash' and see when that happened!

The war on drugs is a tale of a once great and free nation which fell down a rat hole into a fantasy world riddled with peculiar and dystopian logic.

Because Drug cartels will always have an endless supply of ready cash for wages, bribery and equipment, no amount of tax money, police powers, weaponry, wishful thinking or pseudo-science will make our streets safe again. Only an end to prohibition can do that! How much longer are we willing to foolishly risk our own survival by continuing to ignore the obvious, historically confirmed solution?

Whether or not any of these 'at present illegal' substances are dangerous or addictive is not in contention. Some clearly are and others, such as marijuana, are clearly not. At present we have a bigger 'prohibition problem' than we do a 'drug problem' This is actually a re-run of the 1920s and early 1930s --Alcohol was rightly perceived to be addictive and dangerous, so they banned it. The result was so catastrophic that the same people who were behind it's prohibition soon took to the streets to get it legalized/regulated again.

For those of you who are still living in some strange parallel universe, one where prohibition actually works, may I suggest that you return to high school economics class, and learn about supply and DEMAND. Learn that you cannot up DEMAND simply by upping supply. Contrary to popular held superstition, drugs are not PUSHED, the drug dealers are filling a DEMAND not creating one. The DEMAND is here in the US and is impossible to control, but what is possible to control, is the income from that DEMAND. All we have to do is allow legal businesses to meet that DEMAND. Under proper regulation drug use will not rise, as it couldn't get any worse than it is at present.

If you support prohibition then you've helped trigger the worst crime wave in history.

If you support prohibition you've a helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike.

If you support prohibition you've helped to make these dangerous substances available in schools and prisons.

If you support prohibition you've helped raise gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging.

If you support prohibition you've helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

If you support prohibition you've helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

If you support prohibition you've helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

If you support prohibition you've helped to escalate Theft, Muggings and Burglaries.

If you support prohibition you've helped to divert scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting your fellow citizens from the ever escalating violence against their person or property.

Posted by: malcolmkyle | June 24, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

1. The US Constitution says that Congress is in control of D.C.

2. Rep. Chaffetz is doing his job. He is on the committee, and the “ranking” GOP on it.

3. Are you afraid that D.C. or Congress will overturn the D.C. Council vote? They may or may not, but they should vote.

Posted by: Utah1 | June 24, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

If "health risks" and "addiction" were truly of concern, then alcohol and tobacco would be prohibited nation-wide.

Only ill-informed or ignorant people believe the fear-mongering hype about marijuana while ignoring the very real health risks and addiction as established FACT for alcohol and tobacco.

Educate yourself. The information is freely available online. Start here: http://www.saferchoice.org/

Posted by: CitizenPain | June 25, 2010 2:54 AM | Report abuse

Logical fallacy is all the old social conservative-republicans have to use.Bush2 killed neocon,and these two illogical REPS- dinosaurs will give way to newer voices on the right like Gov.Gary Johnson,Ron/Ayn Rand Paul and Judge Napolitano.

Posted by: cambodea | June 27, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Golly, many great posts, especially yours malcomkyle!! Keep it up!!!
And Yes, it is essential we get rid of the congressinal Representatives who are against this JOLLY GOOD Herb, with special focus on the crooked,lying, Bush Bozos!!!!

Posted by: ganja_santa | June 27, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

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