A bipartisan coalition of Congressional lawmakers yesterday reintroduced federal legislation to provide state-authorized medical marijuana patients and their providers with an affirmative defense from federal prosecution.
The legislation, H.R. 6134 –- The Truth in Trials Act (Read the text of the bill here.) –- would allow certain federal defendants the opportunity to “introduce evidence (at trial) demonstrating that the marijuana-related activities for which the person stands accused were performed in compliance with state law regarding the medical use of marijuana.”
It states, “It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution or proceeding under any federal law for marijuana-related activities, which the proponent must establish by a preponderance of the evidence, that those activities comply with state law regarding the medical use of marijuana.”
Fifteen Democrats and three Republicans are sponsoring the measure.
Under present law, federal defendants are legally prevented from presenting evidence at trial that their actions were in compliance with state medical marijuana laws — or even acknowledging the fact that cannabis possesses therapeutic value — because the substance remains classified as a Schedule I prohibited substance under federal law. Passage of the Truth in Trials Act would ease these restrictions.
House Bill 6134 is pending before the House Committee on the Judiciary, which is Chaired by ardent pot prohibitionist Lamar Smith (R-TX).
Advocates can voice their support for The Truth in Trials Act to their members of Congress here.
Of course, this legislation would not even be necessary were the Obama administration simply to have upheld the President’s one-time pledge to no longer use federal “Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws” regulating the physician authorized use and distribution of medical cannabis. You can tell President Obama to halt the administration’s escalating attack on medical cannabis here.