Join Together News Summary,
November 17, 2006
Drug-policy reformers are hopeful that a
medical-marijuana bill will pass a Democrat-controlled House
of Representatives, even if the measure has little chance in
the Senate and faces a near-certain veto by President Bush.
Wired News reported Nov. 15 that Bill Piper, director of
national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, said
medical-marijuana should at least get a hearing in the
House; sweeping reforms, however, don't appear appreciably
more likely to happen even with the Democrats taking over
the House and Senate.
"For all the worries about 'San Francisco values' coming
into the Congress, (drug reform) isn't one that's going to
come to the forefront," said Patrick Murphy, a drug-policy
expert at the University of San Francisco.
A medical-marijuana bill failed last year in the House on
a 264-161 vote, but the addition of 28 (or more) new
Democrats could improve the measure's chances of passing. In
the Senate, advocates are hoping that socialist Sen. Bernie
Sanders could champion the measure, perhaps getting it
attached to a spending bill that Bush would be loathe to
The new Congress also is expected to be less generous in
funding the DEA and more circumspect about imposing harsh
drug laws. Congress also could finally take action on the
sentencing disparity between powdered and crack cocaine.