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House Judiciary Committee Member Grills DEA for Hindering Medical Marijuana Research

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
House Judiciary Committee members grilled a Drug Enforcement Administration official today in the new Congress's first oversight hearing on federal law enforcement's role regarding medical marijuana.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) questioned DEA's Joseph Rannazzisi over the administration's suppression of a University of Massachusetts botanist's application to grow marijuana for research. After years of stonewalling, the DEA's own administrative law judge issued a nonbinding decision earlier this year that the application should be approved. Despite Rep. Nadler's request that the DEA commit to ruling on the application by the end of the Bush administration, Rannazzisi declined to state any specific timeline for the determination.

The committee also heard testimony from Valerie Corral, a Santa Cruz, Calif., medical marijuana patient and co-founder of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, a cooperative that provides medicine to authorized patients. Despite the co-op's legality under state law and the support of the county government, the DEA raided her home in 2002, confiscating WAMM's supply of medical marijuana and other personal property.

"It is unconscionable for federal agencies to continue to put politically expedient promotion of reefer madness before irrefutable medical science and the will and best interest of the American people," she submitted to the committee. "The well-being of thousands of seriously ill Americans backed by the opinion of the vast majority of their countrymen demands that medical marijuana be freed from federal interference."

The hearing marked an important turning point for advocates pressing the federal government to protect patients who use medical marijuana with their doctors' recommendation from arrest, said Aaron Houston, MPP's director of federal policy and the nation's only full-time federal lobbyist for marijuana policy.

"For too long, federal law enforcement has been allowed to run wild in its persecution of medical marijuana patients, ignoring both medical science and the will of voters," he said. "Today, the House Judiciary Committee sent a message that these agencies do not operate without oversight."

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Source: BBSNews
Author: Michael Hess
Contact: BBSNews
Copyright: 2007 BBSNews
Website: Federal Policy Lacks 'Scientific Rationale'
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