Last week, federal judge Emmet G. Sullivan declared the Barr Amendment unconstitutional. The 1998 measure effectively prohibited District of Columbia residents from proposing or voting on a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Congress approved the law shortly after 69 percent of D.C. voters approved a measure to remove criminal penalties for the medical use of marijuana. Specifically the amendment, authored by Georgia Republican Representative Bob Barr, prohibited the use of federal funds to ''enact or carry out' any law that reduces criminal penalties for marijuana or any Schedule I controlled substance,' according to the Marijuana Policy Project news release. Judge Sullivan, in reviewing the case, supported the MPP's argument 'that the Barr Amendment violated D.C. residents' First Amendment right to utilize the District's ballot initiative process to engage in public debate on a subject of fundamental importance.' With the recent win, the MPP is scrambling to get a new initiative on the November ballot.
--Sara V. Buckwitz
Find out about MPP's campaign here.