Congress has declined to address the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes even as medical-marijuana initiatives are popping up as local and state ballot initiatives, the Connecticut Post reported Aug. 22.
To date, no votes have been held or considered to legalize medical marijuana in the U.S. House of Representatives or U.S. Senate. Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, doesn’t expect Congress to take up medicinal-marijuana legislation before the November elections.
However, Fox said he is pleased with the progress that has been made in convincing federal lawmakers of the benefit of medical marijuana and the need to set priorities for federal law-enforcement agents.
Despite the inaction on the federal level, several states are considering steps to make it easier for patients to use marijuana to relieve pain and suffering from certain diseases.
In Connecticut, for example, where a poll showed 83 percent of residents support medical marijuana, lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow the drug to be used to ease pain as long as there are very strict requirements.
This November, there are marijuana initiatives on several local and state ballots. In Alaska, voters will decide whether to decriminalize marijuana for “medicinal, recreational, or industrial” use. In Montana, a ballot initiative will determine if qualified patients can possess and cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Oregon’s measure would amend the state’s current medical-marijuana law by allowing patients to possess up to 10 marijuana plants or one pound of usable marijuana. In Oakland, Calif., residents will vote on whether to change municipal guidelines so that enforcement of marijuana offenses is considered the city’s “lowest law-enforcement priority.”
Medical-marijuana proposals are also on ballots in Ann Arbor and Detroit, Mich.