Members Seek to Stop D.C.’s Medical Marijuana

Posted June 23, 2010 at 4:53pm

Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) introduced a resolution Wednesday to strike down a Washington, D.C., bill legalizing medical marijuana.

The bill — which the D.C. Council passed in April — legalizes marijuana for chronically ill patients. It’s narrowly written, limiting patients to 4 ounces each month and requiring the city to set up official dispensaries.

In a news release Wednesday, Chaffetz cited marijuana’s federal classification as a psychotropic drug that has a “high potential for abuse.”

“While certain of these principles may be open to significant debate within segments of the medical community, and among pro-legalization/decriminalization groups, I am opposed to re-classification and decriminalization efforts,” said Chaffetz, who is the top Republican on the Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee that handles D.C. affairs. “And while derivatives of marijuana are available in pill form for medicinal purposes, smoked marijuana is a health danger, not a cure, and therefore remains a harmful and dangerous drug for people of all ages.”

Congress is allowed to rescind the law within 30 legislative days of its passage, but Chaffetz acknowledged in an interview Wednesday that his bill would never make it to the floor. Congress hasn’t directly struck down a D.C. law in decades, and Democrats are unlikely to take up the issue.

“I’m not smoking the weed,” he said. “I understand this bill won’t pass, but it doesn’t mean we should be advocating the use of a drug.”