July 19, 2012
A bipartisan group of House members has proposed legislation that would make it easier for people to defend themselves in federal cases for possessing marijuana, if they can show that they are using marijuana for medical purposes in line with relevant state laws.
The Truth in Trials Act, H.R. 6134, was introduced Tuesday by Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), along with an eclectic mix of 15 House Democrats such as Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), and three Republicans, including GOP presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (Texas).
The bill would give people facing federal prosecution for marijuana possession the right to "introduce evidence 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 would also create an affirmative defense under federal law for marijuana possession.
"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," the bill states.
The bill further clarifies that defendants can only be found guilty of a federal offense related to marijuana that is determined to be for non-medical purposes, and also makes it harder for the government to seize and destroy marijuana and related paraphernalia.
"No plant may be seized under any federal law otherwise permitting such seizure if the plant is being grown or stored pursuant to a recommendation by a physician or an order of a state or municipal agency in accordance with state law regarding the medical use of marijuana," it reads.
Other Republicans on the bill are Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.).