Pubdate: Sun, 02 Jul 2000
Source: Journal Gazette (IN)
Copyright: 2000 Journal Gazette
Contact:  600 W. Main Street, Ft. Wayne, IN. 46802
Fax: (219) 461-8648
Author: Mark Souder - Member of Congress


An article appearing in Friday's Journal Gazette ("Souder battles
medical-marijuana laws") failed to make clear an important point about
recent state initiatives that have attempted to decriminalize
marijuana for so-called "medical" use.

According to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, states
cannot pass legislation that is contradictory to existing federal law.
Therefore, for all practical purposes, laws to relax state penalties
for drug use can have no effect. A bill I have introduced makes clear
as a technical matter that the longstanding federal laws against the
use of marijuana and narcotic drugs take precedence over efforts to
change those laws in the states. In other words, California cannot
permit marijuana use because it is illegal under federal law.

Well-funded activists have undertaken a repulsive effort to legalize
drugs in the name of sick people, when legal means already exist to
administer the effective component of marijuana in pill form. The
representative of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana
Laws who was quoted in the article gave the impression that groups
like his are truly concerned about the ability of ill people to ease
their pain, when in fact, NORML's sole mission in all its years of
existence has been the legalization of marijuana for everyone.

Too many Americans' lives are ruined by illegal drugs. Those who seek
to legalize this poison certainly shouldn't be allowed to use sick
people as an excuse.

Mark Souder

Member of Congress
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