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Members of Congress To Introduce Federal Measures To Legalize Cannabis, Regulate Sales

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 5, 2013

    rethinklogohd1Members of Congress will introduce historic legislation today to permit for the regulated production and retail sales of cannabis to adults in states that have legalized its consumption.

    Representative Jared Polis, (D-CO) is sponsoring legislation that seeks to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

    Separate legislation to be introduced by Rep. Earl Bluemenauer (D-OR) seeks to establish a federal tax structure for retail cannabis production and sales.

    Both Representatives, along with drug policy reform advocates, will discuss these measures at a teleconference this afternoon.

    “When residents of Colorado and Washington voted to end their state’s prohibition on marijuana last November, it was a watershed moment for our nation’s move towards sane marijuana laws,” said NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, who will be speaking at today’s teleconference. “But there remains a lingering conflict between state and federal law. These historic measures seek to resolve this conflict and empower states to dictate their own marijuana policies, without fear of federal incursion. NORML would like to thank the Congressmen for taking this brave step forward and encourages their colleagues in Congress to join them in calling for sensible marijuana law reform.”

    Both Representatives have also released a report today outlining the need for federal marijuana law reform, titled “A Path Forward: Rethinking Federal Marijuana Policy.” The report states that “it is time for Congress to allow states and voters to decide how they want to treat marijuana. The current system is broken. It wastes resources and destroys individual lives, in turn damaging families and entire communities. It is past time to take action and stop this tragic waste in the future.”

    Members of Congress will also call for the establishment of a Congressional Working Group on Sensible Drug Policy.

    You can read the full text of that paper here.

    Please check back the NORML website later this afternoon for further details regarding today’s press conference.

    91 Responses to “Members of Congress To Introduce Federal Measures To Legalize Cannabis, Regulate Sales”

    1. Miles says:

      It is no surprise to me, at all, that the Representatives sponsoring this legislation are Democrats! I Salute them! They have their work cut out for them going up against a house full of Republicans though…

      The Republicans, in particular, have a lot of financial ventures tied up in marijuana prohibition (e.g. Private Prisons, Big Pharma, Alcohol, Tobacco, Law Enforcement (of the non-violence related kind, etc…)

      I continue to hold out hope that the Prohibitionists (the Anti-American liberty squashers) get what they deserve; and we all know what that is! Hint: If justice was to prevail, a lot of them would end up in prison.

    2. Mark R says:

      It’s long overdue that they stop ruining peoples lives over a damn plant…… totally ridiculous.

    3. Bradson says:

      It will be fun to watch the ONDCP and DEA react to this common sense, increasingly popular, fact-based approach. I predict that they will condemn it as wrong-headed and say they cannot support any measure that makes drug use seem OK to children.

    4. Mark says:

      Let’s hope this historic day is the beginning of an era where people who responsibly use marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes not only can be open about their use of the herb, but also lose the stereotype that has surrounded people who consume marijuana for years.

      My life. My Body. My Choice.

    5. James Tasoulas says:

      It’s about time.

    6. Fireweed says:

      Legalizing mj for adults would achieve so much. Primarily it would take a lot of fuel out of the drug cartels coming up from Mexico which seem now to present a serious us security threat. It would also create a barrier to minors acquiring it. Having a legal accountable system would eliminate the basis for involvement of marijuana in the illegal drug trade altogether. We could end up with a budget surplus if mj were legalized. And watch, I bet Washington and Colorado don’t disintegrate into chaos because of their legalization measures.

    7. Swedesrule66 says:

      Ah ha! There lies the rub, “… a Congressional Working Group…” As most Americans already know, a camel is nothing but a horse designed by committee. Will common sense rule or will Congress, like Obama, know better what is good for the people than the people themselves?

      Personally, I believe that this will, at the very least, get Congress talking. However, egotists like Chabot, will probably try to shove nonsense-able legislation down the throats of the public. All we can really do at this point is hope common sense prevails and donate $ to our favorite lobbyists in favor of reform. Like they say, money talks, bullshit walks.

    8. rooferon says:

      A good start, lets stop filling our prisons with nonviolent potheads. Instead embrace alcohol type of taxes to help our economy. Everyone knows in their heart that weed is not the devil stepping stone to harder drugs.

    9. Aj says:

      One Word. Finally!

    10. James Page says:

      It seems like a 2 way sword.

      Vote Democrat = Legalize Marijuana
      Vote Republican = Support Gun Owner Rights.

    11. poogoojoo says:

      Its this or in a decade or two the support while reach alcohol prohibition levels and the states well take the right away from the government to prohibit canabis, if they keep this kind of stuff up eventually all the civil rights groups well see there fighting for the same thing and we’ll see an amendemnt to grant us sovergnty over our bodies……..and we dont want that do we.

    12. Thread says:

      Obama will shut this down if it gets to him

    13. Sam Applebaum says:

      i just dont understand with some many benefits this plant offers, why is it such a problem to just do some research. it would show our government what good possibilities can come from this, and the wide range of people it can help.

    14. J.R.H94 says:

      If this bill were to pass, it would super-accelerate the rate at which states introduce and pass tax and regulation policies, for federal government intervention is one of the leading reasons states don’t want to be a part of this. Once enough states do pass legislation, Cannabis will more than likely be removed from the schedule 1 substance catagory and be moved to the same catagory as alcohol, officially ending this senseless prohibition.

    15. Ashley McC says:

      Each state will legalize in do time, I believe that President Obama may be open to this, IF. We people and government can come to some type of easy control and tax proposal and he can create some type of easy distribution without chaos… People tend to be irrational and chaotic when the plants soul purpose is to relieve so many genetic antagonists bipolar depreeion, fibromyalgia ect. Some people just like the cloud feeling…

    16. Mallory says:

      How on earth is a drug proven to help cure and relieve cancer patients, also the same substance that can ruin the life of a young adult that smokes in a state that doesn’t recognize it’s medical benefits? How is the government TAXING state governments with medicinal and legal marijuana, when they call it a “schedule one narcotic” ?! They shouldn’t collect a dime if they don’t agree to it! Also, if they can’t admit that smoking marijuana will cause zero harm to a persons health, then maybe they can look at it compared to other LEGAL substances that kill people daily, such as alcohol and cigarettes! End this silly war on drugs, it makes NO sense!

    17. dick justice says:

      one can only hope and fight!

    18. Bob Z says:

      2013 Legalize it!! And make me an American citizen again!!!

    19. Less Important than the Thought says:

      I just finished reading the paper, and it seems well-put. I am more concerned with the future treatment of those who would “home-grow” under this new legislation. Since it is insisting “all” marijuana be taxed, could home-growers be tried for tax evasion? Tobacco is regulated in this way, and so it is a possibility. Especially if the hoped upon amount of $50.00/ounce TAX to growers is the ends. That cost WILL be passed along.
      Not that I wish to belittle this document or those involved, as I am an advocate myself, but it is a concern we should have. I (in my personal thought and opinion,) do not want to purchase my greenery from a gas station in cigarette packets.
      If anyone has more information, I am very interested. I am 100% for legalizing, just 100% against being railroaded. It is important we ask and know the answer to these kinds of thoughts.

    20. The excise tax only applies on the first sale of cannabis, so it would have to be a commercial grow or producer. Home cultivation would be allowed, permit and tax free, in states that allow for it (ie: Colorado currently allows anyone over 21 to grow up to 6 plants).

    21. Billy c Paul says:

      This Police State Nation of ours already uses Marijuana as a cash cow , the government is The Real Cartel. The Government uses Marijuana and any other thing thay can to control and inslave the masses. I am a former US Marine and Police Officer, I am going to keep skokeing Marijuana no matter what.

    22. Jay says:

      Pass the tax and regulation bill so the government wont come and arrest people for growing, and smoking pot. The so called “drug war” failed, ruining peoples lives and taking away there freedom because of a plant that grows and then you smoke it. And change the schedule of marijuana its less harmful than alcohol and cigarettes. People kill people driving drunk everyday, you hear about it all the time. Do you ever hear marijuana killing anybody, or marijuana causing a car accident because there under the influence. My opinion is, and im sure many others are as well, driving after smoking pot relaxes me and makes me a more cautious driver.

      Back off government and 5-0, were not going away, marijuana will always grow, and people will be there to smoke it.

    23. scott blo says:

      I will say it one more time ! This is the year to put 1 million people on the Nat’l Mall on 4/20/13 with 1 million blunts to be lit @ once @ 4:20 p.m. To send a smoke signal that the world will NOT be able to ignore anymore ! Do we want our rights ? Than we must assemble and insist upon our rights being upheld !!!

    24. Less Important than the Thought says:

      NORML, on the ball as always. Thanks for the clarification, Erik!

    25. roger says:

      Legalize MJ and we won’t need gun control. The responsible citizens of this country aren’t the problem. It is the 1% of insane or irresponsible people that these laws are meant to stop. We all suffer when we give up freedoms under the assumption that we can protect everyone by taking away our freedoms. Don’t be fooled by Government intervention.

    26. Aljamo says:

      After smoking cannabis for 45 years, it is way past time to legalize nationwide. Stuck here in the backward southeast of the U.S. it seems unlikely to pass rightwing government. I don’t see how non legal states can prosecute if it is legal in any state of the U.S.

    27. Robert M says:

      As more and more states choose to legalize Cannabis the federal government will either have to give the power to the states to do as they wish or try and stop it early on before a huge momentum is created. That momentum is at a crucial stage and we aren’t over the first hill yet. We have to wait and see how well Washington and Colorado handle their new laws concerning the use of Cannabis and what the feds do, if anything.

      If you go to the Marijuana Majority home page it is plain to see that there are more and more well known people, conservative and liberal alike and from many diverse walks of life joining together to challenge the present laws. When you have people like republican conservative Davis Koch saying – “I have friends who smoke pot…it’s ridiculous to treat them as criminals” you know change is coming.

    28. G. Jerry says:

      100% legalized, and 100% excise tax-free is the only solution I’ll be 100% satisfied. This would be a HUGE step in the right direction, but there would still be a big fight for true justice, and I find it disgusting that the only reason they would even consider legalizing it is because their greedy asses are seeing dollar signs.

      How about this: Prohibition is unconstitutional. End of discussion. The Federal State (and their drug bureaucracy) is in direct violation of the supreme law of the land with all this garbage. They should be tried, convicted, and imprisoned for their crimes against the American people. Screw them. I’ll be happy when they have to pay for the 76 years of injustice they have perpetuated.

    29. NORML has been involved in this legislation as it was coming together, as consumer advocates we always push strongly for home cultivation!

    30. Chris says:

      Totally agree t should be legalized taxed abd sols to the public.
      I currently take narcotic pain medicine, but would much rather smoke a joint to relieve my chronic pain. Bring it on soon…..

    31. phrtao says:

      Would there be taxation on cannabis imports? If the pressure is taken off the traditional producing countries such as Afghanistan, Morocco, Jamaica and (especially) Mexico this is where cannabis will be produced. It is not the current situation because these countries persecute growers (at the behest of the US) and smuggling is difficult and expensive but under a legal frame the production and importation costs would plummet. Any legal framework needs to include a hefty import tax if local producers are to make any money. There is no point making the production cost of marijuana $100 per ounce in the US when it can be produced for 50 cents somewhere else in the world.
      (Those fancy named hybrid seeds grow very well in all sorts of countries so don’t imagine anything produced in California can’t be produced to the same quality in Mexico)

    32. David Carte says:

      Dont industrialize it…. just simply decriminalize it

    33. Anonymous says:

      If this does pass our bicameral legislature, I doubt that Obama will veto it. Hypothetically, Romney may have as part of fighting it ‘tooth and nail’.

      Back in the 1960’s, I talked to a few people who were ‘waiting until they legalized it’. I’ll bet they’re happy now. I had begun to believe I would be dead before they legalized it. Maybe not.

      I wonder if anyone will dare sponsor a bill funding continued prohibition for the price of $100 billion a year.

    34. Keith Parrish says:

      There should be no argument whatsoever.
      Amendment 10 of our Constution clearly says.

      “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

      This ends the argument no matter what they try to say. It’s the law of the land already.

    35. GENOCIDE via Haters and their Petroleum Wars

      or

      Industrial Hemp.

      STOP GENOCIDE, VOTE INDUSTRIAL HEMP

    36. Erik says:

      To tell you the truth, I’d love to see this at least get to sunlight to be voted on. But, alas with Mitch McConnell, McCain and Boehner in congress, that will never happen. I’d be surprised if this piece of legislation even made it to the floor for a vote. Do you really think that a congressional body like ours can come up with common sense drug police when they can’t (and won’t)come up with a plan to balance a budget or vote on one that represents the people of this great Nation?

    37. JUDY ANN BISHOP says:

      MAN, I SURE HOPE THIS IS PASSED WHILE I’M STILL HERE ON EARTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHANGE THE DRUG POLICIES, MAKE MONEY BY LEGALIZING MARIJUANA, AND TAXING IT, AND EACH STATE SHOULD LEGALIZE IT!!!! YOU WILL SEE A DIFFERENT AMERICA, AND A NEW ATTITUDE, AND MONEY COMING IN TO PAY OFF DEFICIT!!

    38. Suitaloo says:

      Honestly, being a republican and for pot, I see no reason why the older, stereotypical republicans are against it. The only older republican representative I know of that would legalize it is Ron Paul. But seriously, why do they think it’s bad for you? The benefits outweigh the (very minor) risks in spades. Hell, if Maryland had dispensaries, I could probably get a prescription EASILY due to chronic depression and ADHD, which are both proven to be great treatments for both.

      Seriously GOP, this isn’t 1935. Reefer Madness has been debunked multiple times, get your dicks out of the oil wells in the middle east, legalize pot, and get the oil out of our own damn country, we certainly have enough.

    39. Anonymous says:

      When I was in my forced treatment for MJ use, they told us that the definition of insanity is repeating something over and over and expecting different results. Is 40 years insane enough?

    40. roger says:

      When I was sent to my force treatment for MJ, they told us that the definition of insanity is repeating something over and over, expecting different results. Is 40 years insane enough?

    41. Rooster says:

      Norml, What are the chances this legislation doesn’t just get buried in committee never to see the light of day?

    42. Gloria says:

      This is great – thanks to the folks who are working for this. It oughta happen – yeaa!

    43. LH says:

      Ya know, if all those Republicans who hate Obama really wanted to mess with him,
      what they should do is keep passing marijuana leagalization bills everywhere
      so he’s forced to either send in the DEA or genuinely support legalization.
      Either way it’s a wet dream for them because they can then turn around
      & say it’s all his fault like they always do with everything else.
      And if they wanted to be real bastards, they could just join together
      in a “bipartisan” effort to pass a federal bill for full pot legalization
      he’d then have to sign or veto. (And no, I do not love Repuglican’ts..)

    44. TheOracle says:

      Sounds great! Now if the Beltway Bunch in Congress can put it on the schedule and vote it into law, that’s another story. I read the main points, and I didn’t see anything in there about a work-around for international treaties that prohibitionists love to put up as a road block.

      I Can’t Drive 55.
      by
      Sammy Hagar

      Go fast!

    45. Brandon Morris says:

      Vote Democrat= Legalize Marijuana
      Vote Republican = Support Gun Owner Right
      Vote Libertarian = Both
      FREEDOM!!!

    46. Mike. Y says:

      I just want to be able to go to the store and get a pack of cigs and a pack of migs

    47. reta says:

      This is years past due, imagine being in jail for pot, it even sounds ridiculous. My God we are a backward people.

    48. spkavyo says:

      Thank you Representative Polis and Blumenauer, you have presented a great case study for why marijuana should be legal and hemp allowed for cultivation. Now if Republicans will take the time to read it, and realize there are over 50% of Americans that want this to happen!

    49. Denny Strausser Jr says:

      Doing so at a federal bases is a good place to start. It’s about time too, if they pass things such as this. It is time to quit criminalizing people over a very useful plant.
      These things will slowly pass now too, as more Americans are realizing, that there’s little to be concerned about with the actual herb. More people know the truth, and Government will have to deal with it, even if they don’t want to. It is our time, at last.

      ??

    50. JC says:

      Good news, now it is not just the two retired members with a good bill introduced! Hey Scott, I agree with you again, I wonder if we could get a million people there, and if it would make a difference. They may send out haters to infiltrate and get the whole crowd tear gassed arrested and any other shit they can think of. Does anyone else like this idea, or do we just continue to chip away state by state? Either way lots of good folks risk arrest all the time with the current awful laws. Thanks for the article.

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