United States: Members Of Congress Introduce First Federal Measure Since 1937 To Legalize The Adult Use Of MarijuanaSubmitted by restore on Fri, 06/24/2011 - 20:42
By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
House lawmakers introduced legislation in Congress today to end the federal criminalization of the personal use of marijuana.
The bipartisan measure, HR 2306 – entitled the 'Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011' and sponsored by Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank and Texas Republican Ron Paul along with Reps. Cohen (D-TN), Conyers (D-MI), Polis (D-CO), and Lee (D-CA) – prohibits the federal government from prosecuting adults who use or possess marijuana by removing the plant and its primary psychoactive constituent, THC, from the five schedules of the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Under present law, all varieties of the marijuana plant are defined as illicit Schedule I controlled substances, defined as possessing 'a high potential for abuse,’ and ‘no currently accepted medical use in treatment.'
Said Rep. Frank, "Criminally prosecuting adults for making the choice to smoke marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources and an intrusion on personal freedom. I do not advocate urging people to smoke marijuana, neither do I urge them to drink alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco, but in none of these cases do I think prohibition enforced by criminal sanctions is good public policy."
At a time when Wisconsin farm families are constantly looking for new sources of revenue, hemp would be a good one.
By Capital Times Editorial
The states of North Dakota, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, West Virginia, Vermont and Oregon already have legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp, recognizing that these crops can be used to produce fibers that are useful in the making of rope and other products.
At a time when Wisconsin farm families are constantly looking for new sources of revenue, this is a good one. And it has a history in the state; until 1957, notes Bill Tracy, who chairs the Agronomy Department at the University of Wisconsin, industrial hemp was a significant crop for Wisconsin farmers.
With that combination of current need and relatively recent history in mind, legislators should not hesitate to back a bill, introduced by state Rep. Louis Molepske Jr., D-Stevens Point, which would address the state prohibition on the production of hemp.
The controversy regarding this bill, to the extent that there is any, will have to do with the fact that hemp is cultivated from the same plant that is used to grow marijuana.
By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director
Washington, DC: Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, along with co-sponsors Ron Paul (R-TX); Maurice Hinchey (D-NY); Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA); and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), will reintroduce legislation today to limit the federal government’s authority to arrest and prosecute minor marijuana offenders.
The measure, entitled an “Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults,” would eliminate federal penalties for the personal possession of up to 100 grams (over three and one-half ounces) of cannabis and for the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce of pot – making the prosecutions of these offenses strictly a state matter.
Under federal law, defendants found guilty of possessing small amounts of cannabis for their own personal use face up to one year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.
Passage of this act would provide state lawmakers the choice to maintain their current penalties for minor marijuana offenses or eliminate them completely. Lawmakers would also have the option to explore legal alternatives to tax and regulate the adult use and distribution of cannabis free from federal interference.
To date, thirteen states have enacted laws ‘decriminalizing’ the possession of marijuana by adults. Minor marijuana offenders face a citation and small fine in lieu of a criminal arrest or time in jail.