Interposing Idaho

Recently, the Idaho legislature convened its session for 2011. While there are plenty of problems facing Potatonia, one that is particularly pressing is how to further protect its patients. In 2010, Idaho became a co-plaintiff with twenty-five of her sister states in a lawsuit lodged against the Federal government regarding the Constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordability Act (PPAA). With that legal battle expected to take exorbitant time to determine, the Idaho legislature took a bold step by becoming the first state to nullify the PPAA’s individual insurance mandate by enacting the Health Care Freedom Act. Similar legislation has since been introduced across the Union, and thus far has been adopted in six additional states (Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah, and Virginia). This year, Idaho might go one step further with the Health Care Nullification Act.

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Will Nullification Happen in Illinois?

In Illinois, the legislature recently convened its special session to complete unfinished business before the new legislature convenes early next year. While normally a dull, drab caretaking effort to tie up loose ends, the special session opened with a fiery battle for a reaffirmation of Illinois’ state sovereignty. The contentious issue debated was that of the partial nullification of Federal narcotics laws, specifically regarding the medicinal use of cannabis.

The Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (SB 1381) had already cleared the Senate earlier this year by a thin margin of 30-28. Representative Lou Lang (D-Skokie) is spearheading the bill’s passage in the House. An outspoken advocate of protecting patients and their physicians and caregivers, Lang has successfully stewarded SB 1381 through the committee process. He brought the bill to the House floor for a vote on the first day of the special session, but pulled it when it seemed headed for defeat with 53 for, 59 against, and 1 abstention.

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Arizona, South Dakota: A Chance to Advance the Nullification Movement

On Election Day, Arizona and South Dakota will vote on initiatives to partially nullify Federal narcotics laws pertaining to the medicinal use of cannabis. These initiatives are important to the residents of both states for many reasons. They offer a re-assertion of state sovereignty and interposition by the state(s) on behalf of patients and their caregivers.

They affirm the sanctity of the doctor/patient relationship independent of Federal meddling. They provide patients safe access to their medication. And perhaps most importantly, they affirm that Arizona and South Dakota are willing to join the group of states in this Union (as well as the Federal District) and the nations around the world who accept the standard that judges societies by how well they treat their weakest and most vulnerable members.

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