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Letter: End war on marijuana patients
First Published Jul 02 2014 03:20 pm • Last Updated Jul 02 2014 03:20 pm

This week we will spend an entire day celebrating freedom. Yet, our country is home to the world’s largest population of prisoners, several of whom are serving time for medical marijuana despite being in compliance with state law.

In a recent New York Times article "Lock ‘Em Up Nation: Mandatory Sentencing for Medical Marijuana," Timothy Egan writes, "if Larry Harvey, at the age of 70, with his gout and high blood pressure and bum knee, gets the mandatory 10-year term, he’s likely to die in prison, certainly not the last casualty of the assault on our citizens known as the War on Drugs. For him, freedom is just another word his congresswoman likes to throw around on the Fourth of July."

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The Obama Administration has repeatedly claimed that it’s not targeting individual patients. However, the Department of Justice has spent over $3 million to prosecute Larry Harvey and four other state-authorized medical marijuana patients, known as the "Kettle Falls 5".

Congress has the opportunity to put end to federal interference. Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) and Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) medical marijuana amendment to the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations bill would end the funding that is currently used to arrest, raid and prosecute legitimate patients and care providers.

The U.S. House of Representative already took the first major step when they passed the amendment, 219-189, on May 30. Now it’s time for the Senate to take a stand and vote in favor of the Paul-Booker amendment and end to the war on patients.

James Ward

West Wendover

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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