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 Introductory Remarks -
Armchair Warriors of the 105th

Senate Bill S. 209 - Introduced by Senator Breaux

Mr. President, last year I was shocked to learn of the huge difference that exists between the Federal penalties for trafficking powder cocaine and for trafficking the exact same amount of crack cocaine.

Right now, selling five grams of crack cocaine results in the same 5-year mandatory minimum prison term as selling 500 grams of powder cocaine. Selling 50 grams of crack cocaine gets you a 10-year minimum sentence, while you'd have to sell 5,000 grams of powder cocaine to get the same 10 years in prison.

While these penalties are vastly different--100 times greater if you sell crack cocaine--the damage caused by these criminal acts are the same. Lives are lost, families are destroyed, careers are ruined, and our Nation itself is seriously threatened.

Tough penalties are necessary to send a clear signal that the United States will not tolerate selling illegal drugs. The answer to the problem presented by this wide difference in penalties is not to lower penalties for selling crack cocaine but to increase the penalties for selling powder cocaine.

House Bill H.R. 1265 - Introduced by Represenative Solomon

Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing legislation in response to the actions taken by the State of California and the State of Arizona to allow for the medical use of marijuana. The bill would deny Federal benefits to any individual convicted of using, possessing or selling marijuana.

As we know, Mr. Speaker, it is a Federal offense to sell, use or possess a controlled substance, such as marijuana. Under existing law the courts have the authority, at their discretion, to deny Federal benefits to anyone convicted of using, possessing or selling a controlled substance, such as marijuana. My bill would eliminate the discretion of the courts in those States, which have approved the use of illegal drugs for medical use. In other words, anyone who violates Federal law in this matter would immediately lose any Federal benefit, license or grant for which they might otherwise be eligible.

The Federal Government, or more specifically, the Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly rejected marijuana for medical use because it adversely impacts concentration and memory, the lungs, motor coordination and the immune system.

A recent evaluation of the issue by scientists at the National Institute of Health concluded:

After carefully examining the existing preclinical and human data, there is no evidence to suggest that smoked marijuana might be superior to currently available therapies for glaucoma, weight loss associated with AIDS, and nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy.

There is also increasing scientific evidence that marijuana would be the last medication you would want to prescribe to persons with AIDS since smoked marijuana further compromises the immune system, increasing the risk of infections and respiratory problems.

As we know, the organizations which promoted the California and Arizona medical marijuana initiatives--NORML/Drug Policy Foundation, intentionally exploited the pain and suffering of others as part of their back door attempt to legalize marijuana.

Within the next few days I will introduce a bill to deny Federal highway funds to any State which has approved the use of medical marijuana and yet failed to enact the Solomon amendment, suspending the drivers licenses to persons convicted of using a controlled substance.

In addition, I will be introducing legislation to require DEA to revoke the Federal license of a physician to dispense medication if they recommended the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Federal law--Title 21 U.S.C. Code, section 824, provides the President authority to deny a doctor's registration to dispense controlled substances medication, if they are found to commit acts inconsistent with the public interest. In other words, the President already has the authority under existing law to end the medical marijuana fraud. All we really need is decisive action on his part. However, given the unwillingness of this President to fight the War on Drugs, Congress must act.

 "If you're in a hole . . . stop digging."

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