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Federal bill would affect proposed state medical marijuana law. Go MN, think green

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#1 Mr. Super Radmacho Man

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 03:35 AM

Federal bill would affect proposed state medical marijuana law by: Andy Birkey Mon Apr 21, 2008 at 2:55:20 PM The Minnesota Legislature is currently contemplating a bill to allow patients with pain from chronic illness to use marijuana to relieve their symptoms, but even if it passes and Gov. Tim Pawlenty signs it, those patients would still be subject to federal prosecution for possession of the herb. A bill introduced in the U.S. Congress by Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Ron Paul, R-Tex., last week would remove most of those penalties in states that have passed medical marijuana laws and another by Frank and Paul would reduce the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. "In my view, having federal law enforcement agents engaged in the prosecution of people who are personally using marijuana is a waste of scarce resources better used for serious crimes," Frank said in a press statement Thursday afternoon. "In fact, this type of prosecution often meets with public disapproval. The most frequent recent examples have been federal prosecutions of individuals using marijuana for medical purposes in states that have voted -- usually by public referenda -- to allow such use." Frank continued, "Because current federal law has been interpreted as superseding state law in this area, most states that have made medical use of marijuana legal have been unable to actually implement their laws." Critics of Minnesota's pending medical marijuana law have pointed to the federal laws as a reason to oppose the bill. The Personal Use of Marijuana By Responsible Adults Act of 2008, introduced in Congress by Frank on Thursday, would set a maximum fine of $100 for the possession of 100 grams or less of marijuana, with the exception of cultivation, sales for profit or trafficking across borders -- those would retain their stricter punishments. In addition, the law would not supersede state laws. In contrast, Minnesota currently imposes a $200 fine for possession of up to 1.5 ounces (42.5 grams), although the penalty is often merely confiscation. The Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, also introduced by Frank on Thursday, would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug, essentially making it a classification of drug that doctors would be able to prescribe. Frank says that both bills combined would help relieve some of the barriers that prevent patients from using marijuana.

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