A bill in Congress that would allow police departments to deny certain patients access.
The bill would allow a criminal justice system to be used to punish and incarcerate individuals for medical marijuana use.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has warned that the bill would “open the door to state and local law enforcement agencies using this power to suppress medical cannabis use.”
But a coalition of law enforcement organizations, medical marijuana activists, and activists say that the proposed bill is the wrong approach.
“This is not an appropriate way to do it,” said Chris Elliott, the attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s medical marijuana program.
“We need to be talking about a system that treats medical marijuana the same way other forms of medicine should be treated.”
The American Civil Rights Union has been fighting to overturn a DEA rule that requires doctors to give patients medical marijuana recommendations.
The law enforcement groups say the DEA’s policy unfairly targets medical marijuana users who rely on medical marijuana to help manage chronic pain, nausea and other debilitating illnesses.
In a press release announcing the release of the bill, the ACLU and others argue that the DEA needs to reevaluate its approach to marijuana, especially in light of the recent fatal shooting of a 19-year-old high school student, who was arrested for possession of marijuana.
“We cannot let the DEA continue to try to deny millions of people access to medicine they need,” Elliott said.
“Medical marijuana patients are the ones suffering most from the DEA policy.
It’s time to get rid of the DEA as the gatekeeper of medical marijuana.”
The bill has been in the works for months, but Elliott said the coalition of activists decided to release it this week because of recent court rulings and other developments.
“The DEA has a responsibility to protect public health and safety.
We believe it should not be allowed to abuse this power,” Elliott told The Associated Press.
The DEA declined to comment.
The U.S. Justice Department also declined to respond to AP’s request for comment.
A DEA spokesperson said the agency “has not reviewed this legislation, and we are reviewing it closely.”
Follow AP’s coverage of marijuana arrests in the U.K., Colorado and Oregon.
The American Drug Policy Alliance (ADP), which represents law enforcement, says it is concerned about the proposed legislation because it will “criminalize a person’s medical use.”
“The goal of the legislation is to make it a crime to possess or grow marijuana, to distribute marijuana, or to provide marijuana to patients,” said ADP’s executive director, Andrew Kolodny.
“This criminalization of medical cannabis will make it illegal to grow, distribute, or supply medical marijuana.
It will also allow police officers to arrest patients for violating these laws.”
A DEA spokesperson told the AP that the agency has been working with its legislative allies on this bill and that it is “fully aware of the significant public health concerns about marijuana, including its potential harmful effects on people with chronic conditions.”
“This bill would do nothing to stop the use of medical medical marijuana by people suffering from serious conditions or those who have lost their jobs or have had their businesses raided for selling medical marijuana,” said an email from a DEA spokesperson.
The bill, which has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, is being referred to as the Medical Marijuana Access for People with Serious Conditions Act.