Statement on Medical Marijuana
D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi inserted the following
statement into the Congressional Record late last night about a
proposal by California Congressmen Sam Farr and Dana Rohrabacher
to prohibit the Justice Department from spending any funds to undermine
state medical marijuana laws. It failed by a vote of 148 to 268.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment offered
by my colleagues Sam Farr, Dana Rohrabacher, Maurice Hinchey and
Ron Paul, and I salute their courage in bringing it to the House
This amendment to the Fiscal Year 2005 Commerce, Justice,
State, and Judiciary Appropriations bill would prohibit the Justice
Department from spending any funds to undermine state medical marijuana
laws. It would leave to the discretion of the states how they would
alleviate the suffering of their citizens.
Eleven states, including my home state of California, have
adopted medical marijuana laws since 1996. Most of these laws were
approved by a vote of the people. More than 70 percent of Americans
support the right of patients to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.
I am pleased to join organizations that support legal access
to medical marijuana, including the American Academy of Family Physicians,
the American Bar Association, the American Nurses Association, the
American Public Health Association, and the AIDS Action Council.
Religious denominations supporting legal access to medical
marijuana or state discretion on this issue include the Episcopal
Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the National Council of
Churches, the National Progressive Baptist Convention, the Presbyterian
Church, the Union for Reform Judaism, the United Church of Christ,
the Unitarian Universalist Association, and the United Methodist
Proven medicinal uses of marijuana include improving the quality
of life for patient with cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other severe
In my city of San Francisco, we have lost nearly 20,000 people
to AIDS over the last two decades, and I have seen firsthand the
suffering that accompanies this awful disease. Medical marijuana
alleviates some of the most debilitating symptoms of AIDS, including
pain, wasting, and nausea.
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine issued a report that had
been commissioned by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The study found that medical marijuana ``would be advantageous''
in the treatment of some diseases, and is ``potentially effective
in treatment pain, nausea, and anorexia of AIDS wasting and other
To fight the war on drug abuse effectively, we must get our
priorities in order and fund treatment and education. Making criminals
of seriously ill people who seek proven therapy is not a step toward
controlling America's drug problem.
Again, I commend Mr. Farr, Mr. Rohrabacher, Mr. Hinchey and
Mr. Paul for their leadership on this issue, which affects the health
and well-being of so many Americans."