Newsbrief: Medical Marijuana "Truth in Trials Act" Introduced 4/11/03

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Members of Congress joined with marijuana reformers and victims of the federal government's anti-medical marijuana jihad in a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday to mark the introduction of the "Truth in Trials Act," which would allow persons convicted of violating federal marijuana laws to introduce evidence in federal court that they followed state laws for the purpose of alleviating suffering. Juries could find defendants not guilty if they believed they had followed state medical marijuana laws.

Sponsors Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) were joined by cosponsor Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Ed Rosenthal juror Marney Craig, Ashley Epis, the eight-year-old daughter of imprisoned medical marijuana provider Bryan Epis, Valerie Corral, whose Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana was raided in September, Marijuana Policy Project ( executive director Rob Kampia, and Steph Sherer, director of Americans for Safe Access (, an umbrella group dedicated to a proactive defense of medical marijuana users and providers.

"This is an issue of states' rights, plain and simple," said Rep. Farr, lead sponsor of the bill. "The voters of California have passed a medical marijuana initiative, but the federal government has exhibited little respect for our state's laws. Attorney General John Ashcroft has insisted that his opinion is of greater consequence than the citizens of California -- five million of whom voted for Proposition 215 in 1996 to allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients in pain."

"This is a matter of basic fairness," said Robert Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, DC. "Jurors who could imprison someone for decades for trying to help the sick have a right to hear the whole truth, not a censored version that is stripped of any facts the government doesn't like."

The bill currently has 23 cosponsors and awaits action in committee.

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Issue #282, 4/11/03 HEA Reform: Day of Action on Campuses Nationwide, Press Conference in Washington, ABA and Join Together Join the Fight | Save the Children, Screw the Rest of Us: RAVE Act, Measure to Limit Judicial Sentencing Discretion Pass House and Senate | Coca Battles Heat Up in Peru: Strikes, Street Battles, March to Lima Underway | US Prisoner Number Hits Two Million | Columbia, Missouri, Marijuana Reform Initiative Prompts Progress in Defeat | Action Alerts: Hemp Food, Global Legalization, Maryland Medical Marijuana | The Week Online Still Needs Your Help! | Newsbrief: Brazilian Cabinet Member Calls for Drug Decriminalization | Newsbrief: Medical Marijuana "Truth in Trials Act" Introduced | Newsbrief: New Jersey Doubles "Club Drug" Penalties | Newsbrief: Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Michigan Welfare Drug-Test Requirement | Newsbrief: Ohio Appeals Court Rules Mom's Marijuana Use Not Adequate Reason for State to Seize Kids | Newsbrief: Wayne State Passes HEA Reform Resolution in Advance of SSDP National Day of Action | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Web Scan: IAL report, Southern Prison Expansion, Huffington on Tulia, Journal of Neuroscience on MedMj, Reason on Stepnoski | The Reformer's Calendar

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