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In “Herbal Remedy” (1/4), author Kai Wright was correct in explaining that there are two different strategies in play to protect marijuana-using patients from arrest in the District. Unfortunately, the author incorrectly portrayed these two strategies as competing with one another.

In truth, it is wiser to pursue both strategies simultaneously.

First, as Washington City Paper readers know, 69 percent of District voters—including me—voted for the first medical-marijuana initiative, in November 1998. Every year, Congress passes an amendment that prevents the 1998 law from taking effect. Thus far, lobbying efforts have failed to convince Congress to strip the bad “Barr Amendment” from the District’s annual appropriations bill. I would love to see this lobbying effort succeed, but unfortunately it has not done so.

So, rather than waiting years and years to see if Congress might someday allow the 1998 measure to take effect, the Marijuana Policy Project is now pursuing a second strategy.

On Dec. 18, we filed a lawsuit against the government for the right to place a medical-marijuana question on the November 2002 ballot. If we win in federal court (which is likely) and the initiative passes at the ballot box (which is extremely likely), then Congress will be forced to decide whether it will allow the

medical-marijuana law to take effect in the District.

And we will continue to aggressively sue and lobby the government until patients like Candida Fraze, a plaintiff in our lawsuit, are no longer subject to arrest.

Executive Director

Marijuana Policy Project