Lawmakers Call For An End To Federal Marijuana Prosecutions

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director June 18, 2009

    June 18, 2009

    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.norml_remember_prohibition_

    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.

    “The federal government has much more important business to attend to than targeting, arresting and prosecuting adults who use marijuana responsibly,” NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. “This is an issue that ought to be handled by the states, not the Feds.”

    According to nationwide polls, three out of four voters believe that adults who possess marijuana should not face arrest or jail, and one out of two now say that cannabis should be regulated like alcohol.

    The reintroduction of the Frank/Paul bill comes one week after the duo reintroduced HR 2835, The Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act of 2009 – which seeks to halt federal interference in states that have enacted medical marijuana laws – and just days after Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) called for federal legislation to sentence certain first-time marijuana offenders to 25 years in prison.

    “The US Congress has a definite choice,” said St. Pierre. “They can choose the path of compassion, fiscal responsibility, and common sense by supporting Barney Frank’s and Ron Paul’s efforts, or they can continue down America’s failed drug war path by endorsing Rep. Kirk’s draconian legislation. It is abundantly clear which direction the voters wish to go; will their elected officials follow?”

    Additional information about the ‘Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults’ is available at NORML’s Take Action Center.

    210 responses to “Lawmakers Call For An End To Federal Marijuana Prosecutions”

    1. Tyler D. says:

      The only way to keep this momentum going is to ACTUALLY DO, or KEEP doing something about it. What good are we sitting around angry over our current situation? If we’re not emailing the people in control then we have no right to be upset. If we’re not contacting our officials and giving our time and efforts, why do we deserve legalization? If we’re not matching idiotic prohibition statements with factual intelligent ones, then we’re not doing our part. With as many responses as I see on NORML, and Huffington Post, and all the other sites that dare to debate or accept comments on legalization, I can’t help but wonder if we’re all doing our part. I email 6 people that can change the laws in my state. I email them bi-monthly. My father always told me that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” IT’S TRUE! If we’re quietly taking this and not filling some inboxes, we will not get the grease we want. People, if you’re not ready to wage verbal war with a prohibitionist, that’s ok. You can still encourage a similar minded person to speak up WITH you via letter, personal visit, rooftops, etc. If you’re not willing to speak of it, then you should at least email.

      It really trips me out when I see the droves of people that complain about this and I know for a fact they’re doing nothing.

      My request is that we all put a little drive behind our words. Things are changing because we the people are DOING something about it. Ranting about legalization amongst ourselves won’t fix it. So if you’re not doing your part, spare us the rant.

      Peace and Love,
      Tyler D.

    2. Anonymous says:

      This guy Mark Kirk is a JOKE!!!! He’s really trying to help things huh?? When is America going to grow up…

    3. Jim says:

      this would be great

    4. T says:

      I will be PRAYING for this to pass.

      And I’m very agnostic.

    5. Knot Nixon says:

      About time. I bet my liberal/progressive legislator from Wisconsin named Russ Feingold won’t support it…

      *SigH* Stoopid legislators.

      Go Ron Paul… 2012 reform our conservative party back to what it used to mean being conservative. Keep this government out of my business!

    6. Preston McGuigan says:

      my fingers are crossed and will remain that way, lol

    7. Wilmer says:

      I am also praying that FLORIDA will decriminalize personal possessions of small amounts for responsible adults. Let’s stop this war on the people.

    8. David C. says:

      THIS IS IT. Do or die time!

    9. John Barth says:

      Someone needs to plant a small amount of weed on Mark Kirk and have him locked up for 25 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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