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July 2004
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My letter to the editor

The Pantagraph today published my letter regarding the medical marijuana vote in Congress:


To the Editor:
On Wednesday evening (July 7), the U.S. House of Representatives voted on an amendment (the Farr/Rohrabacher/Hinchey/Paul amendment to HR 4754) that would have stopped the federal government from using tax money to harass sick people using medical marijuana (in those specific states where it is legal under state law). DEA agents have been spending extraordinary amounts of resources going into states like California and “busting” medical marijuana patients who are following state law (usually without even charging them with a crime).
Unfortunately, the amendment failed, despite the fact that 70% of the population supports regulated medical use of marijuana; that it is supported by numerous medical organizations and the National Institute of Health; and that a recent statement by the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and other mainstream religious groups supported doctors’ rights to prescribe medical marijuana.
Kudos to Representative Tim Johnson (R-15th), who was one of the 148 who voted for the amendment.
But what was my representative Jerry Weller (R-11th) thinking by voting against it? He’d have the federal government spend our tax dollars going after law-abiding sick people in California rather than focusing on violent drug criminals and those who target children? Or does he think we can just keep sending more money to him so it can be wasted this way? It appears that Representative Weller may be part of this new group of pro-big government, pro-big spending, anti-states’ rights, un-compassionate conservatives.
It’s time to get smart on drug policy.
Pete Guither
Bloomington, Illinois

I’m hoping this letter will get a few local people thinking about medical marijuana in a different light, and I’m hoping Representative Weller sees it.
Interestingly, I also learned that Weller is drawing some fire for being on the House International Relations Committee while being engaged to marry the daughter of a former brutal Guatemalan dictator.

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