June 16, 2005 – Following last weekâ€™s Supreme Court finding that federal anti-drug statutes trump popularly enacted state compassionate use laws, the US House of Representatives yesterday voted down a measure that would have placed a moratorium on the prosecution of medical marijuana users while the issue is studied.
Yesterdayâ€™s 264 to 161 vote was the third failure in as many years for the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment, which would have prohibited federal money from being spent on the prosecution of medical marijuana users in the ten states presently permitting it.
Marijuana is a Schedule I drug, considered by federal law to be addictive and have "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States." Medical marijuana advocates are seeking to have the drug reclassified so chronically and terminally ill people can have safe and legal access to the drug, a position supported by many doctors, researchers and others in the medical fields.
Opponents have charged that the whole issue is a "scam," and claim marijuana is an addictive and potentially deadly drug, though physical dependency on the drug is rare and few if any marijuana-related deaths are reported each year in comparison with most other popular drugs, including tobacco and alcohol.
Aside from organizations like the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Marijuana Policy Project, supporters of medical marijuana law reform include the American Nurses Association and United Methodist Church.
A study completed by the National Academies of Science in 1999 concluded that "research should continue into the physiological effects of synthetic and plant-derived cannabinoids and the natural function of cannabinoids found in the body."