Hinchey’s medical marijuana amendment fails again
It was the fourth time that Hudson Valley Congressman Maurice Hinchey and fellow House Member Dana Rohrabacher of California introduced an amendment to shield from federal prosecution patients who use medical marijuana in compliance with state law.
The lawmakers offered a bipartisan amendment to the spending bill that funds the U.S. Department of Justice that would prohibit the agency from spending any money in its budget to prosecute people who use medical marijuana in states that allow such use or doctors who recommend the drug in those states.
While the Hinchey amendment was defeated, the 163 votes in favor of the measure represented the most support it has ever received.
“It’s about compassion for people who are seriously ill or dying and it’s about states’ rights,” he said. “We have 11 states in our country that have stipulated, either by actions by the legislature, or in nine of those 11 cases, by referendum, votes of the people, that they want medical marijuana to be available to people who are seriously ill, people who have HIV/AIDS, who have cancer, who have glaucoma, who have multiple sclerosis.”
Medicinal benefits of marijuana are well documented, Hinchey said. At the request of the White House, the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine conducted a study in 1999, which indicated that marijuana can relieve severe pain, nausea, and appetite loss. The AIDS Action Council, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Nurses Association, and the American Public Health Association all support access to medical marijuana based on the fact that the drug can help patients.