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. toobefree says:

      I don’t do cannabis, ever. But I would volunteer to knock on doors and stand on street corners with signs to see that it is legalized in the USA.

    2. jedthehead says:

      This means so much to so many. Repeal can’t happen fast enough for us old guys.

    3. Mateo Villa says:

      Beautiful movement lets keep up the positivity

    4. Well said Erik……….the political bandwagon has started.

      Free the weed

      Thanks NORML

    5. james says:

      I think Obama is not touching this cause he knows whats happening,am sure Obama had this looked into before hes reelection on nov 6 .But i bet even he didn’t see this coming tho :) 4 states and 2 countries following CO WA lead !!!

    6. Justin says:

      Virginia needs to do something…

    7. Matt says:

      Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming!! Everyone kept saying 5 more years it will be legal, but this is happening faster than we all know it!! We all have to stand up for nature though and not let the greedy corporations take this over and rape us with it…Soon we will have GMO cannabis that doesnt reproduce like most other crops in america. (like 80% of our corn is GMO) Or….they will tell you; sure you can have a license to grow or possess cannabis, but you cant own a gun or any weapons…you choose….im glad we are leaning towards a more sensible policy but we have to be careful where this may end up.
      My thoughts are that they probably will never be able to regulate all the cannabis (yes lets stop calling it marijuana, it is a name used in the light of racism) as far as controlling seeds, it is a weed for crying out loud, a very useful weed at that!! And if it is legal to possess something that can be found growing in a ditch, then why would we not be able to have plants, any number of them. If everyone can access it and grow it themselves there will be no need to commercialize it. It will be as common as an herb garden and might be mixed with rosemary and thyme and other herbs you may be growing.
      But what will probably happen is, you will be taxed based on how many plants you are registered to grow and if you break the rules you could be fined a hefty tax, and possibly face jail time. I would be ok with that i guess as long as the tax wasnt too much and it didnt require inspections as long as you were not distributing it to wholesalers, etc.
      We are going to need a lot of people with microscopes and a minor in biology to identify foreign objects / contaminates in cannabis. Also do basic chemical tests for Ph levels and residual fertilizers, possibility of being toxic (which everyone knows, cannabis, in its natural form, has never harmed anyone or anything). This will qualify whether or not a batch of cannabis can be sold. That batch will then be stamped with your grower registration number or maybe just your id number / driver license, so that if medical evidence finds that you are responsible for poisoning someone, that batch of cannabis can be traced back to its grower…sorry got bored for a moment, i could go on and on about regulations and how they could control it….someone please contact me if you want some good ideas. (and yes they are just ideas, some can be dumb, its called brainstorming, you just write down everything that comes to mind.)

    8. Cody Brown says:

      First! Take that derik

    9. John McClane says:

      I hope Mexico legalizes. That would really shake things up. If they do that, It would hurt the cartels bad.

    10. Anony says:

      Experiment!? I am outraged… this is and will NEVER be an experiment. This is our destiny and let it manifest like it did back then! ^_^

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