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INTRODUCTION OF THE STATES' MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENT PROTECTION ACT
(Extensions of Remarks - February 14, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E150]
  INTRODUCTION OF THE STATES' MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENT PROTECTION ACT

                                 ______
                                 

                          HON. EARL BLUMENAUER

                               of oregon

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, February 14, 2013

  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, today, along with a bipartisan group of 
cosponsors, I am introducing the States' Medical Marijuana Patient 
Protection Act, legislation that will allow medical marijuana patients 
and businesses--who are complying with state law--the ability to access 
and distribute marijuana free from federal interference.
  Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws 
allowing for the use of medical marijuana for people suffering from 
conditions such as cancer and severe nausea. As a result there are now 
hundreds of thousands of medical marijuana patients nationwide. Despite 
these laws, at the federal level marijuana is currently listed as a 
Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that 
it is considered a substance with a ``high potential for abuse,'' with 
``no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United 
States.'' This means that the 19 jurisdictions that permit medical 
marijuana are operating in a patchwork of inconsistent local and 
federal laws.
  These inconsistencies create significant challenges for both patients 
and the businesses working to provide access to medical marijuana. 
Because of federal tax and banking laws, marijuana businesses--despite 
operating in compliance with state or local law--are not allowed to 
deduct their legitimate business expenses and are often unable to make 
deposits or maintain bank accounts. Simultaneously, the federal 
government has continued to enforce federal law, and many medical 
marijuana facilities across the country have been raided by the Drug 
Enforcement Administration or otherwise targeted by the Department of 
Justice.
  The federal government maintains a monopoly on access to marijuana 
for research, currently run by the National Institute on Drug Abuse 
(NIDA). The mission of this Institute is to ``lead the Nation in 
bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction,'' 
and many researchers have found it difficult to obtain marijuana for 
research into the potential therapeutic or medicinal effects of 
marijuana.
  The States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act would provide 
for the rescheduling of marijuana under the Controlled Substance Act to 
a listing other than Schedule I or II, which would mean the federal 
government recognizes an accepted medical use. It would also ensure 
that neither the Controlled Substances Act nor the Federal Food, Drug 
and Cosmetic Act would restrict individuals, doctors or businesses from 
consuming, recommending, producing, distributing or otherwise operating 
in marijuana in compliance with state or local laws. Finally, it would 
require that access to marijuana for research into its potential 
medicinal and therapeutic uses be overseen by an entity in the 
government not focused on researching the addictive properties of 
substances.
  Nineteen jurisdictions have passed laws recognizing the importance of 
providing access to medical marijuana for the hundreds of thousands of 
patients who rely on it. It is time for the federal government to 
respect these decisions, and stop inhibiting safe access.

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