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Congress to Hold Hearings on State and Federal Marijuana Conflict

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director August 26, 2013

    Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has scheduled a hearing to address the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws.

    “It is important, especially at a time of budget constraints, to determine whether it is the best use of federal resources to prosecute the personal or medicinal use of marijuana in states that have made such consumption legal,” Senator Leahy stated, “I believe that these state laws should be respected. At a minimum, there should be guidance about enforcement from the federal government.”

    The hearing is scheduled for September 10th and both Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole have been invited to testify.

    The hearing comes after 20 states have approved of the medical use of marijuana and two states have legalized it for recreational use. The Department of Justice had promised clarification for these states regarding how, or if, the federal government intends to respond, but has thus far failed to provide any clear policy or guidance. It is the hope of Senator Leahy these hearings will address the concerns of these states and provide them a way to move forward with their state approved marijuana laws.

    NORML will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

    71 Responses to “Congress to Hold Hearings on State and Federal Marijuana Conflict”

    1. Jordan Stevens says:

      You should put up a link to everyone we should email to show are support for the fight.

    2. JC says:

      @ the oracle(first post) /what about the recent developements at Uruguay, are they not signers of the international treaty? Does anyone know how this affects US, if they legalize, I heard they were close to full legalization.

    3. mexweed says:

      @Demonhype, Dave Evans– you guys are right to zero in on defining what fascists are, and in my opinion it has to do with one meaning of lat. “fascis” namely a torch. Weedstalks were “fastened” together so they would keep burning longer than a single fat stick.

      The #1 modern fascist symbol is a $igarette, built to keep burning hot on each puff, a drug cocktail of heat shock, carbon monoxide and 4221 combustion toxins, with ADDICTIVE nicotine to keep you bound/bundled in a money spending habit the rest of your shortened life.

      Challenge TRUE Conservatives to step forward and endorse a 25-mg single-toke conservation utensil– one-hitter, pen vape, plug-in vaporizer etc.– instead of wasteful 500-mg “joint’ (alias giant) which recruits kids into the $igarette culture (media, movies, gestures, adultness, peer group etc.) adding to America’s yearly CDC-estimated $193-bil. cost of $igarette-related diseases, which can be PREVENTED by legal safe moderate access to VAPORIZED cannabis for everyone young and old.

    4. Norm Gloss says:

      Mexweed,

      The fasces (not fascis)is an AXE wrapped in a bundle of rods. To my understanding, they were not even weapons, but symbols of either strength through unity or magisterial power. They were almost certainly never used as torches.

      Additionally, the top fascist symbols in the US currently, are the two fasces flanking the podium in the US house chamber, and the pilasters on either side of Lincoln’s throne in the Lincoln memorial.

      Please get your facts straight, since unsubstantiated facts give the opposition a leg up in the fight. Thank you.

    5. mexweed says:

      Whether this factoid will solve our difference over Roman history, I remember there was an “axe” on the old US dime and a “torch” on the new one (since 1946), both able to symbolize the idea of strength, or power, through a bundling-together. Do you agree that a True Conservative would want to get rid of wa$teful joint-smoking ($5-10 of cannabis gone in minutes) and especially the $193-bil./yr. disease-causing $igarette format. And a Tree Conservative would add that the $igarette is the no.l worldwide cause of disease, death and DEFORESTATION, but cannabis is a fine precursor crop for TREE-PLANTING.

    6. kozy says:

      Fight for our rights

    7. Norm Gloss says:

      As a libertarian, I believe that the government has no right to interfere in our lives unless we cause harm to someone other than ourselves…does that answer your question?

    8. Demonhype says:

      @mexweed: I’m not defining “facists”. I’m pointing out that the people I’m railing against, who are fighting legalization tooth-and-nail, call themselves “conservatives”, and I’m not going to waste time playing a semantics game about whether the Republican heads are truly the conservatives they claim to be, or whether they are fascists or space aliens or anything else, because that conversation is a pointless distraction while there is good to do and weed to legalize. All I care about in this fight right now is that the enemy calls itself conservative, and to call them something other than what they’ve publicly branded themselves is going to be confusing and ultimately detrimental to the legalization effort. To insist on the definition game is very close to concern trolling, IMO–it’s derailing.

      I mean, I’m a liberal. A “true” liberal, not the center-right conservatives the Democrats have become in the last thirty years. But rather than go into long discussions about what a “liberal” really is or whether the Dems are liberal, I’d rather work to take proper control of the supposedly “liberal” party and make it actually liberal. And if the Republicans have been taken over by fascists or space aliens or whatnot, and are no longer “true” conservatives, then IMO the “true” conservatives need to focus on whipping their party back into shape and boot the extremists out.

    9. Dave Evans says:

      Actually Demonhype, you are playing the same stupid name game. You are willing to call some bad by a good name, helping to cover up the cancer from everyone else. What is different about this and them constantly calling marijuana an addictive drug, when it clearly isn’t??? It they aren’t conservatives, then stop shitting on real conservatives who are your friends and also want to legalize marijuana.

      No kidding they don’t call themselves “fascists”. No crimal walks around with sign telling everyone they plan on robbing them. Get a clue.

    10. TheOracle says:

      @ JC

      Uruguay is indeed a signatory to the United Nations’ Single Convention on Narcotics from 1961.

      The link to the list of signatories is here:

      http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?mtdsg_no=VI-15&chapter=6&lang=en

      The Economist reported in an article from August 1, 2013 with the titel How will Uruguay’s marijuana law work? that “[f]oreigners thinking of booking a holiday to Uruguay should be warned that only Uruguayan citizens will be eligible to use the pharmacies.”

      You can read the entire article at this link:

      http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/08/economist-explains-1

      The U.S. is in no position to impose sanctions on Uruguay after Colorado and Washington legalized. The U.N. is a paper tiger without the backing of one or more of the countries that have a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. So long as they allow only citizens they’ll deflect the flak from neighboring countries and avoid all the shit The Netherands is having to put up with from its neighbors, especially all the griping in the Maastricht region. In Western Europe it’s more the case that countries there have outsourced the supply of cannabis to coffeeshops in a de facto sense because they do not have a system set up to supply the cannabis consumers who are Belgian citizens, for example. Likewise, the Germans do not have a system set up to supply their own citizens who are cannabis consumers. Same for France, Luxembourg, you name it.

      Germany is making strides to open their first coffeeshop, but it got shot down/denied.

      Belgium also is trying to make strides in opening cannabis coffeeshops. It appears the shop is there, but is waiting to find out if the authorities will tolerate it via a sort of gedoogbeleid as in The Netherlands.

      Here’s the link for that:

      http://frontpage.fok.nl/nieuws/608954/1/1/100/belgie-krijgt-eerste-coffeeshop.html

      You’ll have to ask your browser to translate the English versions for you. I hope nothing gets lost in the translation. Sorry, I’m just too swamped to translate and give any more details.

      I hope that the DOJ, with its tolerance now as of Thursday, August 29, 2013, sending a clear signal to the Belgian, German, Uruguayan and other authorities that it is perfectly acceptable to enact a tolerance policy and simply let the cannabis market come above ground, for non-residents, too. Colorado will sell to non-residents, as long as they are in state, however is such small quantities as to prevent cross-state trafficking. Small amounts for personal use are NOT cross-border trafficking.

      The world is watching.

      Here’s the link for that:

      http://hanfverband.de/index.php/nachrichten/aktuelles/2139-bezirksverordnetenversammlung-friedrichshain-kreuzberg-beraet-heute-qcoffeeshop-am-goerlitzer-parkq-antrag

    11. mexweed says:

      Here’s where we need some “Forgive—> Convert—> Redeploy”. Rather than “whip their party back* into shape and boot the extremists out” let’s look for positives. One example is that both KY Senators now favor growing hemp, though both have been considered rightwing extremists previously, so let’s be positive and suggest the next further steps for anybody or everybody despite what we didn’t like about them before.

      Wording: I put an asterisk on “back” because understandably that is the to-back-go marketing industry’s favorite $ecret $acred $igarette word. Let’s ReachForth with the Rieferforce.

      Main problem with the word “Liberal” is the “-ool” at the end like a gullp of alcohol. We should rename ourselves Liberatives, go out and gently LIBERATE somebody/something.

    12. Ll says:

      Our representatives are meeting to discuss what to do about the fact that they’re 80 years behind the nation on the issue of Prohibition.

      There is nothing to celebrate until they represent our will by ending Prohibition.

    13. Mandi says:

      Hello, My name is Amanda, I dont know where else to make my voice possibly heard. I am a 28 year old college graduate working in the information technology field. I am also a pot smoker. I have ADHD and can not afford the meds require to trat that condition. The meds are Adderall. However Marijuana helps my ADHD to the point where I can focus on my task at hand and not become distracted. I have taken adderall before on a regular basis and that drugs effects on the body is 10 times worse then Marijuana… I realize that this may not work the same for everyone but this is how it works for me. If for some reason I dont have pot, I can not focus and have a hard time completing work. I also run into the problem of getting a good job. I do not have my “medical licence” even though i should probably pursue that so I can complete drug test without failing. I do feel like thats how it should be. Marijuana is way LESS dangerous then Alcohol, No one smokes a few bowls and then goes and drives, normally they are way to lazy and just order a pizza. I am not saying that people dont smoke weed and get behind the wheel. I’m sure it happens and might not be safe. However safer then someone drinking LEGAL booze then driving. Rant end. Hope it made sense. The country as a whole would benefit from legalization government run operation. The money made would be huge.

    14. Mandi says:

      I forgot to add to my last post. I am a college graduate and the fact I can pass a drug test because of marijuana is holding me back from getting employment making a much higher wage. I understand drug testing. Clearly there are drugs that need to be tested for. but not pot.

    15. TheOracle says:

      I certainly will expect to see and hear Senator Leahy and others on C-SPAN asking the hard questions and addressing the concerns people have commented upon in the article on Holder’s memorandum from August 29, 2013. This shit where you can’t grow your own for personal adult recreational use just ain’t gonna fly in Pennsylvania, and most certainly the same as a medical marijuana patient not being allowed to grow for personal need, that shit definitely ain’t gonna fly. Once Governor Corbett’s out of office and John Hanger is in, I want legalization done right. The Commonwealth grows tobacco outside, yet people prefer to buy the finished product rather than raid the fields. Do it right and the same will be for cannabis, and the state will get its taxes just like for the tobacco tax.

    16. john mcclane says:

      hell al guada is awesome… make it more illegal lets give ppl the death penalty

    17. Vape Forest says:

      It’s about time someone like Vermont’s Senator Leahy scheduled a formal meeting to discuss this topic of concern. It will be interesting to see what becomes of this. Keep us posted.

    18. Mark Innes says:

      Clarification from this administration, do you know how many pages their are for a single effort from these legislators. Its so big only a computer can read it all fast enough for the public to use. How well do you trust a computer? Ending the war will remove the fog.

    19. Marijuana Packaging says:

      Medical Marijuana legalization is spreading. Legislation is finally coming to its senses they realize this is a medicine that must be properly regulated and packaged because people depend on it. The “stoner” stigma that has always surrounded marijuana seems to slowly be fading away.

    20. Terry Daluge says:

      I have been on narcotic for 10 years not and they are slowly killing me when I was smoking Marijuana is was so much less painful and I remember acutely relaxing I only quit smoking for legal rezone lets just legalize pot and get the bullshit over with.

    21. Rupert Marshall says:

      435 Congressman is way too many. Nothing positive can get done with that unweildy number. We need to downsize the number to 365. I realize it will dilute our representation, but it will also have the affect of making it more difficult for extremists on both sides from getting elected and it will promote a more centrist legislature.As far as reducing their compensaton while they are in office. Here is why I am against it. Life has taught me time and time again that you basically get what you pay for. If you keep their salaries to low, the process will discourage canidates who have modest wealth and income streams. I believe the better solution is to pay them more but place greater restrictions on their ability to raise money and receive campaign contributions. The problem with our system lies not in paying millions of dollars on Congressional salaries, but in Congressmen and women spending trillions of dollars on God knows what. Pass it On.

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