Michigan's delegation to the United States House of Representatives were graded by a national organization based on their voting record in support of pro-marijuana issues over the last two yers. The result: 5 C's. 2 D and 7 F grades.
The grades were announced in a Congressional Scorecard released in conjunction with the Vote Medical Marijuana 2014 campaign initiated by Americans for Safe Access (ASA). The scorecard was compiled "to educate and inform citizens about members of Congress' record of support for Medical Marijuana," per the organization's website.
ASA is a national patient's rights organization dedicated to advancing legal medical marijuana therapeutics and research.
Among Michigan's House Democrats, Gary Peters and longtime Michigan Rep John Conyers scored the best grade, a C. Dan Kildee and John Dingell received a D grade. Sander Levin earned the lowest possible grade in the Scorecard, an F.
State Republican Representatives fared worse on the scorecard. Receiving C grades were Dan Benishek, Justin Amash and Fred Upton. The worst ranking in the Scorecard, an F grade, was earned by Bill Huizenga, Dave Camp, Tim Walberg, Mike Rogers, Candice Miller and Kerry Bentivolio.
Senators were not ranked in this Scorecard.
Each Representative's score was based on their votes cast on the following Bills or Amendments:
* the CJS Amendment- this 2012 vote would have stopped the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical marijuana programs.
* States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act- 2013-s HR 689 would have reschedules cannabis to a Schedule 3 or 5 drug, made research easier and protected states with medical marijuana programs from federal interference.
* Truth in Trials Act- from 2013, this Act would have allowed state-registered marijuana patients to present evidence of their compliance in federal court.
* States' Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act- would have prevented the federal government from seizing property from state-legal medical marijuana patients. From 2013.
* the Small Business Tax Equity Act- a 2013 proposal to allow medical marijuana-based businesses to take the same deductions on their taxes that ordinary businesses enjoy.
* Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act- would have removed the threat of criminal action against banks that do business with medical marijuana organization and stores. Introduced in 2013.
* the Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act- would reschedule marijuana from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 on the list of controlled substances and give certain protections to cultivation and possession by registered patients. From 2014.
* the Veterans Equal Access Amendment- would have allowed V.A. physicians to recommend marijuana for their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. Amendment voted down in April 2014.
The poor performance of the Michigan delegation is unsettling to Jamie Lowell, Chairman of the Michigan chapter of ASA. "People are dissatisfied with the way their elected representatives are voting on this issue," Lowell explained. "With all the information available to them, and the example of other states leading the way on reforming marijuana laws, it's disheartening to see our state delegation is still in the dark ages on this issue."
As a state Michigan has voted to reform marijuana laws every time the opportunity has been afforded them; 14 local elections and one statewide measure received the voters' approval in the last decade alone. "Clearly a majority of people continuously vote for marijuana reform in Michigan," Lowell added.
"The disconnect between the Congressional voting record, as shown in this scorecard, and the wishes of the citizens of Michigan, as expressed at the voting booth, means Michigan is ready for a changing of the guard," said Rick Thompson, a board member of Michigan ASA and editor of The Compassion Chronicles. "That applies to state Representatives and Senators who are not in sync with their constituents, too."