Recently Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a medical marijuana bill into the United States Senate. It was the first time that such a bill had been introduced in the Senate. Shortly thereafter a fourth Senator, Dean Heller (R-NV) added his name to the bill. Yesterday a fifth Senator, Barbara Boxer (D-CA) added her name to the bill too. Per the Washington Post:
"Senator Boxer is a strong supporter of California's medical marijuana law and she believes that patients, doctors and caregivers in states like California should be able to follow state law without fear of federal prosecution," Zachary Coile, Boxer's communications director, said in a statement.
According to federal records, Boxer, who is not seeking reelection next year, cosponsored the bill on Tuesday, although her office issued no announcement of her support. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) also sponsored the bill last week, saying in a news release that "the time has come for the federal government to stop impeding the doctor-patient relationship in states that have decided their own medical marijuana policies."
Boxer's support is in line with her past comments on marijuana. In 2010, her campaign manager told Talking Points Memo that Boxer opposed a state legalization measure "because she shares the concerns of police chiefs, sheriffs and other law enforcement officials that this measure could lead to an increase in crime, vehicle accidents and higher costs for local law enforcement agencies." But, the spokeswoman added, Boxer does support California's medical marijuana law.
Legendary activist Tom Angell from the Marijuana Majority was also quoted in the article. I saw Tom post the following message on Twitter when the news broke that Barbara Boxer had sponsored the bill:
"Endorsement from Boxer, who's never done much to for medical marijuana til now, is a sign the dam's about to break."
I would completely agree with Tom. I think we are about to see the flood gates open up on this bill, with many more Senators coming out to sponsor this bill. It took a really, really long time to get to this point in marijuana policy. But like the saying goes, 'good things take time, great things happen all at once.' I hope that proves to be the case with this bill. Patients' lives depend on it.