I was encouraged this afternoon by Philly Norml to send an email to my United States Congressional Representative regarding support for House Resolution 499; the Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act. To my surprise, I just received a response back. Here is the content of the original email I sent, which was very helpfully composed by the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

“Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition and replacing it with regulation. The historic votes
on Election Day in Colorado and Washington — where, for the first time ever, a majority of voters decided at the ballot box to abolish cannabis prohibition — underscore this political reality.

The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color. Furthermore, the criminalization of cannabis simply doesn’t work.
A majority of voters support regulating the adult consumption of cannabis, according to a variety of national polls. Further, according to a December 2012 Gallup poll, 64 percent of respondents do not believe that the federal government “should take steps to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in those states” that have legalized the plant.

Despite more than 70 years of federal marijuana prohibition, Americans’ consumption of and demand for cannabis is here to stay. It is time for members of Congress to acknowledge this reality. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and it is time for lawmakers to impose common-sense regulations governing cannabis’ personal use by adults and licensing its production. A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for limited, licensed production, sale, and taxation of cannabis to adults — but restricts use among young people — best reduces the risks associated with its use or abuse. I encourage you to support legislation to regulate marijuana, not criminalize it. Therefore, I urge you to support House Resolution 499: The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013.”

Below is a screenshot from the email response I received with all personal and location details (including the Congressional Representative’s information) removed for privacy concerns:

Email reply from Congressional Representative (PA)

It would appear that this Representative has a defined position on the issue, wrong as it may be. They are saying that they require Food and Drug Administration (FDA) trials and subsequent approval or disapproval in order to change the laughable “no accepted medical use” Schedule I classification to where it belongs. At the same time, they refuse to take any action to encourage the FDA to do their damn jobs! What do you say we call their bluff!? 

I am starting a petition on Change.org for Congress and the President to craft and adopt a resolution in support of immediate trials by the Food & Drug Administration regarding the potential benefits; unlike many of the government’s own National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded studies of only the harms, which blew up in their face and indicated the benefits anyway. It appears a majority of public opinion, as stated above, combined with these studies that they helped pay for with your money is not enough. That did not tell them what they wanted to hear, so they refuse any further research.

The FDA is still considered under law to be an “independent body”, meaning that their activities are not meant to be influenced by politicians and for good reason. Unfortunately, they are failing to do their job, so they need to be reminded of what it is! They owe it to at least 20 states and the District of Columbia who, according to them, are medicating without proper information! How can they justify this? Don’t you want an answer? It is willfully neglectful for the FDA to have not performed studies on the benefits already, given that California legalized Medical Cannabis 17 years ago. It really makes me question our elected representatives commitment to the Americans With Disabilities Act, since cannabis is something that has been shown to be medically beneficial time and again for many patients that qualify as disabled (myself included).

This petition is to demand that Congress take immediate action to draft and vote on a resolution with one simple statement: “It is the finding of the United States Congress, as representatives of the people, that the Food & Drug Administration should immediately begin clinical trials seeking any medical benefits cannabis may have to support the health and safety of the American public.” This is a very simple and clear statement that does not require much thought from a reasonably intelligent human being to know that what is happening is wrong. It should not be hard to pass. They are either a responsible representative of the people or they are bald-faced liars. The time to choose is NOW!
Short of a resolution being adopted and signed into public law by the President, we demand a straight, on-the-record response from our elected representatives including President Barack Obama as to why they will not take this easy and completely obvious step. If Congress refuses to explain itself to the American people by whom they were elected, they do not deserve to be re-elected. Let them know you feel that way by signing this petition and contacting your elected officials directly. Not only can you tell Congress what to do, but it’s your duty as an American citizen. It’s why they are there; to serve us. Remind them of that!

Fight for your right to smoke responsibly! Click here to sign the petition!