From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Statement on Medical Marijuana

July 8, 2004

Washington, 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 floor.

“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 Church.

“Proven medicinal uses of marijuana include improving the quality of life for patient with cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other severe medical conditions.

“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 symptoms.''

“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."




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