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MMCA in D.C. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Matt Vaughn   
Saturday, 24 March 2007

Ten years after the voters of California approved the Compassionate Use Act, state courts have begun to respond to the ideas of "equal protection" and "due process". Unfortunately, those entrenched federal bureaucrats that made careers of "Reefer Madness" driven criminal enforcement and property siezures are still attacking the citizens of California for exercising their Tenth Amendment right to regulate their own health and welfare. Rather than challenge California's Tenth Amendment right to allow marijuana use with a doctor's approval in federal court and giving the voters of California some Data Quality Act approved reasoning for its challenge, federal bureaucrats continue this "gravy train" of cowardly enforcement by poaching on patients in the gray area of the law. How long will this charade continue? In the future, when we look back at this period of history, how will those enforcers (I keep a list) of rabid, unreasoned prohibition of marijuana be judged?

Those enforcement bureaucrats will, ultimately, answer to the voters by way of our representatives in Congress and it has become apparent that we, as voters, must exercise our patriotic duty to petition our elected representitives for redress with regard to this outrageous assault on the citizens of California. With that mission in mind, MMCA has sponsored a visit to Washington, D.C. by a local patient, Don Kearney, and myself.

It is a surprise to many when I say that I'm a Republican, as have been those in my family back to the Lincoln days where radical Republicans battled entrenched slavery. It was to a National Republican Congressional Commitee (NRCC) Business Advisory Council/fundraising event in Washington, D.C. on the 15th of March, 2007, that I decided to take with me as my guest, fellow Republican, Don Kearney. Don has a pending criminal case in El Dorado County Superior Court regarding the collective growing of medical marijuana that, once in front of a jury this coming May, has no chance of conviction and will prove once again that our county continues to waste money and lives over this issue. But, that's not all for Don. As his case is pending, the Eastern District US Attorney has decided to seize his property in federal forfeiture proceedings. So Don Kearney, retired Marine Embassy Guard, is having his property taken by the very government to which he dedicated his life, because Don's interpretation of the "Pursuit of happiness" is "Pursuit of respite from excruciating, mind-numbing pain by using an herbal medication approved by the voters of California". Don asks,"Why did we vote?"

Indeed, why did we vote? We trusted that those in our government whose salaries depend on our paying taxes would help define due process and equal protection with regard to medical marijuana, but it has become well documented that those in our government we trusted have, instead, shown disdain and contempt for the voters. The voters have now become the subjects of "deciders" who know more than us, that dictate to us what we can and cannot vote for, and what we can and cannot do with our own bodies in the privacy of our own homes. Republicans bristle at the idea of dictators and loss of freedom, and it was with a solution to this problem that I was there in Washington talking to fellow businessmen/women attending the NRCC Business Advisory Council events.

There was a reception at the Hilton Washington Hotel on the evening of the 14th of March where we met with other "Businessman of the Year" honorees, such as myself. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was there to thank us. Breakfast the next morning was with NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK), lunch had us visiting with Newt Gingrich and dinner included a speech by our President. Despite the personal feelings many have about those Republicans, somebody must speak directly to those individuals with the power to change laws and work to find a middle ground. The big themes of the gathering regarded taxes on business, healthcare reforms, and finding a popular message to regain voter favor. MMCA was there to help. Our idea of taxing and regulating medical marijuana as a business was enthusiastically embraced by every "Businessman of the Year" that Don and I spoke to. And wouldn't Republicans appear compassionate by passing a state's rights bill, allowing states the ability to protect patients?

Being in Washington with the Business Advisory Council also gave us the opportunity to call on our local Congressman, John Doolittle. His staff went out of their way on short notice to accommodate our visit. Congressman Doolittle met with us personally and was genuinely receptive to our mission, asked pertinent questions, admitted hearing terms from us such as "cannabinoid" for the first time, and raised none of the standard objections. He allowed that there maybe some medical use and that, perhaps, some line can be drawn to accommodate and protect patients, but was realistic that it may be a long time before this protection becomes law. His biggest admission was that he had never talked to patients directly about this issue. Our fifteen minute meeting turned into thirty-five and we concluded with the positive note of continuing discourse. I would like to thank Caren Woodson, Director of Government Affairs, and the Washington office of Americans For Safe Access (ASA) for the excellent help and research.

And discourse continued that evening while Don and I were seated next to Congressman Doolittle at a dinner that featured special guest President George W. Bush. I am optimistic that this discourse will lead us to a middle ground that protects medical marijuana patients.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 April 2007 )
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