Tuesday, April 03, 2007

New Mexico Medical Marijuana Law Sets Stage for Drive in Congress

Presidential Candidate Richardson Signs 12th Medical Marijuana Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today's signing of the nation's 12th state medical marijuana law by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) will jump-start efforts to reform federal policy on medical marijuana, advocates said today. The signing comes in the wake of new research further documenting marijuana's medical value.

New Mexico now joins Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington in protecting medical marijuana patients from arrest. Richardson, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, actively lobbied for the bill's passage.

"Governor Richardson's action is the clearest sign yet that the politicians are finally catching up with the people on the issue of medical marijuana," said Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) in Washington, D.C. "Support for medical marijuana is overwhelming — 78 percent in a national Gallup poll — and backing from the medical community is solidifying as new research continues to document marijuana's medical benefits. Support in Congress keeps growing, and this could be the year the federal government finally ends its cruel attacks on the sick in states where medical marijuana is legal."

MPP is working closely with other organizations and supportive members of Congress to pass an amendment to end federal medical marijuana raids in states with medical marijuana laws. Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia recently joined MPP's lobbying effort.

A University of California study published in the Feb. 13 issue of the journal Neurology found that marijuana effectively relieved a type of severe nerve pain that afflicts hundreds of thousands with HIV/AIDS, and is similar to the type of pain experienced by many patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and other illnesses. A wide variety of medical and health organizations support legal access to medical marijuana, including the American Public Health Association, American Nurses Association, American Academy of HIV Medicine, and Lymphoma Foundation of America.

With more than 21,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.

Date: 4/2/2007