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MOMENTUM: Post Election, Marijuana Law Reform Bills to be Introduced at Both State and Federal Level

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director November 19, 2012

    The message from our big wins on Election Day has already begun to reverberate around the nation. Right on the heels of the votes in Washington and Colorado, several other states (and countries!) are already beginning to consider similar measures in their legislature.

    Last week, representatives from Maine and Rhode Island announced their intentions to introduce legislation that would tax and regulate marijuana in their respective states. Rep. Diane Russell of Maine and Rep. Edit Ajello from Rhode Island will be submitting these bills soon. Reports from Marijuana Policy Project indicated that Vermont and Massachusetts intend to follow suit.

    Reform is spreading as far as Iowa. Today, Rep. Bruce Hunter announced his intentions of not only reintroducing his medical marijuana measure, but also a bill that would decriminalize the possession of cannabis.

    The push for sensible reforms does not end at the state level, this week 18 members of the House of Representatives cosigned a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder and Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart urging them to respect states that chose to experiment with new approaches to marijuana. You can read the full text of the letter here.

    Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) also declared that she will soon introduce legislation, entitled the “Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act,” which would exempt states where voters have legalized cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act provisions related to the substance.

    Leaders outside of the United States have also been following these recent reform efforts closely. Uruguay has just introduced legislation into their congress that would legalize the possession, cultivation, and state-controlled production of marijuana. In Mexico, lawmaker Fernando Belaunzaran of Party of the Democratic Revolution has introduced legislation that also aims to legalize the production, sale and use of marijuana.

    Now that two states have legalized marijuana, the floodgates of reform have opened and each day more Americans, and people around the globe, are waking up to the reality that the prohibition of marijuana has been an utter failure. The statement delivered by the voters of Colorado and Washington is that we must regulate marijuana and do away with the societal ills caused by prohibition. Further, it showed that if the government isn’t willing to take the first step, the people will do it for them. We can only hope this recent wave of reform measures is just the beginning and we must work diligently to spread these rational policies nationwide. If history is any indication, like alcohol prohibition before it, the one on marijuana will crumble at an accelerated rate as more Americans continue to stand up, in growing numbers, and demand sensible marijuana policy.

    Ruminating on the ‘domino effect’ of change, President Eisenhower once stated, “You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly.”

    May it be so with marijuana legalization.

    108 Responses to “MOMENTUM: Post Election, Marijuana Law Reform Bills to be Introduced at Both State and Federal Level”

    1. Anon. says:

      The opposition, regardless of who they are, are nuts – no, flippin’ CRAZY – for wanting to maintain current policies. It’s not just the consumers, businesses and states that can and will benefit from regulation, but also;

      1. The lumber/paper industries could just simply switch over to hemp as their main fiber. Cheaper and easier to produce, but also the work environment would be a whole lot safer for the workers. Too easy.

      2. Big pharma, with all the time, money and effort put into fighting the inevitable, they could put all of that into new ways of using the plant to make new and superior meds. Face it, sickness will never go away as long as man exists. With all the cash and smart guys in long white jackets they have, they could be making a fortune with this plant; much more $ than they do, now. BTW, I LOVE mankind – long live the human race. :D

      3. Tobacco is on the way out, and alcohol will be as soon as this is legal. They are both going to need a new source. How about THC-free bud, and THC infused beverages? Cigarettes that don’t give anyone cancer, and booze that doesn’t cause an OD or make you puke (or give you a hangover, or make people beat the wife, or cause sclerosis, or damage society). Wow, what a novel concept!

      3. Parents, prisons, states and everyone else will benefit due to the windfall of tax/tourism money, ID card requirements, safety and purity rules, and an entire slew of countless other benefits. Also, with police freed up to go after, oh IDK, maybe rapists and murderers, they would actually be operating how they’r supposed to; and with the govc’t having more cash, they could receive incentives for proper corrections operations and so on.

      I have held to the belief that prohibition’s death warrant was signed when the first state decrimmed possession, assigning fines rather than jail. Then came MMJ (thank you, California!), which just affirmed this. I knew this day would come. I knew that the day I smoked my first doober. After all, the same lie can only be held for so long before the truth shines through.

      Thank you NORML, MPP, and all other MJ organizations. Thank you Mr Jack Herrer, for getting the truth published. I only wish you were still around to see all this coming to fruition like a great big, purple and red haired Jamaican bud.

      On a side note, if you haven’t seen this book – GET IT. My brother gave me one a while back when I wrote a college paper on legalization. It’s printed on hemp; I think the ink is even made from hemp. Also, it’s indispensable when speaking the truth and backing it up to one of these nazis.

    2. Anon. says:

      I’m sorry. The book I referenced above is “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.” I love this book – LOVE it. It details the history of use, as well as a good, detailed history of laws concerning the cannabis plant. So many newspaper and magazine clippings (no pun intended) are included that…well, let’s just say there’s a lot. It’s an awesome read. If you haven’t seen it, please find it. You can thank me later.

    3. Michael Miller says:

      Good article. I’m glad to see the dominos falling and appreciate the efforts of NORML. Without you this wouldn’t have been possible. Not only has prohibition been a failure, it’s senseless, it’s hypocritical, it’s not based on fact and science, it violates our rights, and it costs lives. Hemp oil should be in every medicine cabinet around the world. Aspirin is, and it can’t do 1% of what the oil can do. It’s also a shame that

    4. Michael Miller says:

      Good article. I’m glad to see the dominos falling and appreciate the efforts of NORML. Without you this wouldn’t have been possible. Not only has prohibition been a failure, it’s senseless, it’s hypocritical, it’s not based on fact and science, it violates our rights, and it costs lives. Hemp oil should be in every medicine cabinet around the world. Aspirin is, and it can’t do 1% of what the oil can do. It’s also a shame that probably less than 1% of the population is aware of this. We have a plant that hurts nobody, heals the sick without side effects , has never killed anyone in the history of man, can be turned into 50,000 different products many of which are better than the ones we have… not only has prohibition never worked, it makes as much sense as a football bat. We have been lied to for decades in the personal interest of big business and we should have revolted and changed this a long time ago.

    5. dk says:

      And Oklahoma or Texas will be last.

    6. The Dude says:

      Marijuana kills more people each year thank snakes, sharks, crack, bears, bears on crack, spiders, and lightning combined

    7. Timothy Rose says:

      I also wrote a college paper on hemp from the book “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.” It is a MUST read if you want the ability to back cannabis up with facts.

    8. greg says:

      all the states that are legalizing marijuanna and all the ones that will follow in the same steps this is all good news but what about all the people that are in federal jails for marijuanna without violent crime that serving 1 to life in prison shouldnt they be a reform from congress to allow a get out of free card as long as it aint a violent crime

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