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Pelosi: It would be ‘really important’ to take on medical marijuana in Congress

By Kay Steiger
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 14:39 EDT
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com.
 
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reiterated her support for medical marijuana on Wednesday and indicated Democrats might be interested in taking changes to federal law after the election.

“I’ve been very clear on the subject of medical marijuana over time, in committee and on the floor as leader,” Pelosi said told Raw Story at a round table of bloggers.

“I think that it would be really important to do that,” Pelosi said. “It would be hard for anyone to agree with the fact that someone who has HIV/AIDS or has cancer and they find relief from pain in medicinal marijuana that should be something that should be a priority to raid on the part of the Justice Department. Going along with that, we need to address some of the penalties for any non-violent crime that are out there.”

Pelosi previously attacked the administration on medical marijuana raids in May, when she criticized the administration for carrying out raids on medical marijuana facilities. The Obama administration has carried out more raids than the George W. Bush administration.

Her statement at that time said, “I have long supported efforts in Congress to advocate federal policies that recognize the scientific research and clinical research demonstrating the medical benefits of medicinal marijuana, that respects the wishes of the states in providing relief to ill individuals, and that prevents the federal government from acting to harm the safe access to medicinal marijuana provided under state law.”

Her fellow congressmen from California, Rep. Sam Farr (D), said to Raw Story, “Medical marijuana is one of those issues where if you get enough states, where when you get enough, then you get it. California had already started that process because of cost concerns. That didn’t cause any scandals or upheavals.”

Farr has introduced several bills in support of medical marijuana, the most recent of which would have banned the federal government from spending money on raids of state-sanctioned medical marijuana facilities. The House passed the bill on May 10, but it awaits action from the Senate.

“What you see is incremental changes on medical marijuana. Congress will not lead but follow what seems to be a trend in America,” Farr said.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) told Raw Story, “I think our marijuana policy in this country is absolutely nuts.” He predicted that within 10 years, the country would move on medical marijuana policy nationwide.

And an increasing number of Americans agree with Blumenauer. A recent poll showed 74 percent of Americans agree that the federal government shouldn’t interfere with states’ laws on medical marijuana. A Gallup poll from last year also showed that 50 percent of Americans now support full legalization of marijuana.

Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
 
 
 
 
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