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Members Of Congress Introduce First Federal Measure Since 1937 To Legalize The Adult Use Of Marijuana

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 23, 2011

    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 2011and 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.”

    The ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act’ seeks to federally deregulate the personal possession and use of marijuana by adults. It marks the first time that members of Congress have introduced legislation to eliminate the federal criminalization of marijuana since the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.

    Language in this Act mimics changes enacted by Congress to repeal the federal prohibition of alcohol. Passage of this measure would remove the existing conflict between federal law and the laws of those sixteen states that allow for the limited use of marijuana under a physicians’ supervision. It would also allow state governments that wish to fully legalize and regulate the responsible use, possession, production, and intrastate distribution of marijuana for all adults to be free to do so without federal interference. (To date, lawmakers in six states have introduced legislation to legalize and regulate the adult use of cannabis, and separate statewide initiative measures are planned for 2012 in several additional states.)

    Speaking in support of the measure, NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said, “The federal criminalization of marijuana has failed to reduce the public’s demand or access to cannabis, and it has imposed enormous fiscal and human costs upon the American people. It is time to end this failed public policy and to provide state governments with the freedom to enact alternative strategies — such as medicalization, decriminalization, and/or legalization — without running afoul of the federal law or the whims of the Department of Justice.”

    You can read the full text of Allen’s remarks from today’s press conference, which is being reported today by major news outlets nationwide, here.

    NORML, along with representatives from the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), worked closely with members of Congress in drafting the measure.

    Additional information regarding this measure is available from NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

    AFTERNOON UPDATE:

    Below is video of co-sponsor Steven Cohen (D-TN) speaking on the House floor today in favor of HR 2306: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011.

    185 Responses to “Members Of Congress Introduce First Federal Measure Since 1937 To Legalize The Adult Use Of Marijuana”

    1. Elizabeth Isaacson says:

      I am a Disabled American whom would like to know how I could go about getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Tennessee or suggestions as to what to do.

      I moved down here 3 years ago after being falsely arrested & legally searched with my kids taken all cause I smoked Marijuana and refused to take opium based mental health governmental pills that made me a cutter and inflict physical abuse on myself when I came off.

      Also anything I can do in the campaign to legalize please let me know.

      Sincerely
      Elizabeth Isaacson

    2. Tom Konkol says:

      I read this while listening to Mississippi Half-step, and finally felt happy reading something coming out of american politics.

    3. Bhonze says:

      It’s time to stop the Lies and Legalize! The Drug War has cost more in lives and money than the Legalization of Marijuana ever would. The cost to educate and to rehabilitate would be far less the actual War has cost. To be put in jail for using a substance is ludicrous; this helps no one and only helps to destroy families. I would rather see my money go towards rehabilitating someone.

    4. Andrew says:

      I say Legalize it!

    5. ALLEN says:

      I HOPE THIS PASSES I USED IT FOR MEDICAL REASONS..THEN I WAS GROWING MY OWN BEHIND MY HOUSE THE POLICE HAD THE WRONG ADDRESS..SURROUNDED MY HOUSE LOOKING FOR SOMEBODY I NEVER HEARD OF…AND BAM I WAS TREATED AWFUL SCARED MY KIDS TO DEATH NEVER HAD A CRIMINAL RECORD IN MY LIFE..NOW IM A CONVICTED FELON..CAN’T GET A JOB NO WHERE..AND THEN DID THE RIGHT THING WENT TO DOCTOR AND OH MY GOSH IM NOW ON 240 OXYCODONE A MONTH ..I HAVE A VERY BAD BACK CONDITION BUT MAN THE ADDICTION UNREAL..THAT’S THE WORSE CHOICE I EVER MADE BUT COULD NOT LIVE WITH THE PAIN..WHAT HAPPENED TO LIBERTY AND BEING FREE IN OUR HOMES..HOW COULD THEY DO THIS TO ME I CAN’T HARDLY FEED MY KIDS CAUSE I CAN’T GET A GOOD JOB..BEFORE THIS HAD JOB MAKING 60’000 A YR NOW IM ADDICTED TO THE PAIN KILLERS..AND A FELON..WE GOT TO GIVE PEOPLE CHOICES NOT THE PAIN KILLERS HAVE TOOK OVER THIS COUNTRY..

    6. David says:

      The war on drugs has failed from every conceivable angle. It’s time to look at other options.

    7. Bob says:

      Anyone know when they would vote on this or when it would take place if passed?

    8. Tim says:

      Its About Damn Time.

    9. Aaron D. Allen says:

      Finally,lawmakers are debating something that matters and has relevance to the people.Let’s face it,taxes will always go up,politicians will always break their promises,and war is inevitable.But allowing honest citizens to partake in an American product to help ease our stress ans improve our moods really would make a difference.I say we track the vote record of this new proposal and go across the Congressional board,whether Dem. or Rep. and vote for who votes yes.

    10. JitterBob says:

      I’m not a smoker myself, but I have always thought people should be free to smoke marijuana if they choose. It’d probably not 100% harmless, but it’s FAR less harmful than alcohol or tobacco HANDS DOWN. People don’t smoke pot then beat there wives and say “Oh I was just so stoned, I don’t know what came over me” NO! People just get tired and the worst thing they do is neglect there daily to-do list or something to that effect. It only causes problems because of the legality. Lives are not ruined by weed, lives are ruined by weed being punishable by law! It’s RIDICULOUS!

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