Posted 7/24/03

From Drug Policy Alliance: Thurs, July 24, 2003

U.S. - Colombia Drug War Funds Will Not Be Used to Fight Global AIDS

Backing President Bush, the House of Representatives on Thursday narrowly defeated Democrats' efforts to boost funds to fight the AIDS pandemic by shifting money from Bush's new foreign assistance program and anti-drug efforts in Colombia.
The House voted 226-195 against shifting $75 million from the U.S. led war on drugs in Colombia, funds mostly used for the destructive aerial fumigation of coca crops that are used to make cocaine. 
The vote was largely along party lines with the exception of 12 Republicans who voted to support and 17 Democrats who voted to oppose the amendment.  Democrats called the Colombia effort a failed use of around $3 billion in U.S. aid but Republicans said the program, which would get $731 million in the new foreign aid bill, was making progress.
The aerial fumigation funded by the U.S. damages all crops, including food, and has severe environmental and political consequences in a country already impoverished and plagued by civil strife.

You can see how your representative voted HERE. Take the time to write to them - thanking those who voted for the amendment to stop the U.S. funding violence and destruction in Colombia and educating those who voted against.

If you don't know who your representative is, see:

For more information visit the Drug Policy Alliance

From Marijuana Policy Project: July 23, 2003

House Votes to Continue Attacks on Patients

Amendment to End DEA Medical Marijuana Raids Defeated, 152-273

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to allow the Bush administration's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to continue raiding and arresting seriously ill medical marijuana patients and caregivers in states that allow the medical use of marijuana. Nevertheless, patients and advocates were cheered by the growth in the number of congressional allies since the last House vote on medical marijuana in 1998 -- and by the fact that more than two thirds of House Democrats voted to protect patients. The overall vote was 152 in favor, 273 opposed, and 10 not voting.

Today's vote came on an amendment to the Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations bill introduced by U.S. Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). The amendment would have barred the Justice Department, including the DEA, from spending any money to raid or arrest medical marijuana patients and providers in states that have eliminated or reduced penalties for medical use of marijuana: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

"By defeating this amendment, the House today guaranteed that patients battling cancer, AIDS, MS, and other terrible illnesses who find relief from medical marijuana will continue to be rousted out of their beds by armed DEA agents, arrested, handcuffed, and jailed," said Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "This will happen even in states where the voters or state legislators have acted to protect patients from just this sort of cruelty and violence.

"It is particularly shocking that only 15 Republicans -- who regularly advocate for states' rights and reduced federal power -- voted to end the DEA's attacks on the sick," Fox continued. "Nevertheless, the 152 votes in favor or protecting patients represent a 62% increase over the last House vote on medical marijuana, so we've made major progress. We are encouraged that more than two thirds of Democrats voted to protect patients."

 In 1998, the House passed a resolution condemning state medical marijuana laws by a vote of 311-94.

With nearly 13,000 members nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana -- both the consumption of marijuana and the laws that are intended to prohibit such use. MPP believes that the greatest harm associated with marijuana is imprisonment. To this end, MPP focuses on removing criminal penalties for marijuana use, with a particular emphasis on making marijuana medically available to seriously ill people who have the approval of their doctors.

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