Congress is expected to make a rare vote this week on medical-marijuana legislation. An amendment authored by Representatives Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) will prohibit the Justice Department from spending money to interfere with state medical-marijuana laws.
Twelve states have enacted medical-marijuana laws; pot is said to relieve the nausea associated with chemotherapy, tremors caused multiple sclerosis and eye pressure caused by glaucoma.
For the past few years, in a series of highly publicized cases, the DEA has prosecuted California medical-marijuana smokers in spite of a state law permitting the activity.
In addition to stopping the DEA and protecting medical-marijuana patients, the amendment will be the first time since 1998 that members of Congress have voted on medical marijuana, which will provide pro-pot advocates an opportunity to see where Congressional member stand on the issue.
Two weeks ago the White House asked the U.S. Supreme Court to allow federal authorities to revoke the license of doctors who advocate medical marijuana. The Bush administration has also been behind a national push earlier this year to arrest businessmen who wholesale in pot paraphernalia. Operation Pipe Dreams and Operation Headhunter, as they were known, netted actor Tommy Chong, among others.
Even so, many feel it's a matter of time before American opposition to marijuana crumbles. Canada is preparing to decriminalize its federal statues, following the lead of many European countries.