Federal Measure Introduced to Form National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director April 18, 2013

    Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) has introduced federal legislation that would establish a National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy. The proposed commission, inspired by the 1971 Shafer Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, would be tasked with undertaking a comprehensive review of how federal policy should interact with state laws that make marijuana legal for medicinal and personal use, the cost of our current marijuana prohibition and potential revenue from marijuana regulation and taxation, the impact of federal banking and tax laws on marijuana related businesses, the health benefits of risk of marijuana use, the public safety and criminal justice implications of marijuana prohibition compared with regulation, and the effects of marijuana prohibition and potential regulation on our international relationships and treaties.

    “Regardless of your views on marijuana, it’s important that we understand the impact of current federal policy and address the conflict with those state laws that allow for medicinal or personal use of marijuana,” said Congressman Cohen. “This conflict is only going to continue to grow over the next few years and we must provide certainty to the millions of individuals and businesses that remain caught in a web of incompatible laws. A national commission would provide us with the information we need to create sensible policy going forward.”

    Representative Steve Cohen is joined by Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Earl Blumenhauer (D-OR), Jim Moran (D-VA), and Sam Farr (D-CA).

    During an interview with Barbara Walters in December of 2012, President Obama stated, “…what we’re going to need to have is a conversation about, how do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it’s legal?”

    Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske stated in January of this year that, “Coming out of the recent election, it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana.”

    “The Obama administration has repeatedly stated that a national conversation is needed when it comes to our country’s marijuana policies, but so far that conversation has been largely one sided,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “It is time for federal lawmakers to listen to the voice of the majority of Americans who want to see change to our nation’s marijuana laws and for them to take part in that dialogue. NORML is pleased to have worked with Representative Cohen and his staff on this important legislation that would provide a public and professional venue for that conversation to take place. A majority of Americans agree that it is time for the United States to end it’s fruitless and expensive war on cannabis consumers and pursue policies of regulation and taxation. Enjoining this national commission would be a pragmatic and productive step towards assessing the true costs of our current prohibition and creating a framework for a functional federal policy on marijuana.”

    Join NORML and federal legislators in calling for a “serious national conversation” on regulating marijuana.

    Click here to quickly and easily contact your Representative and urge him or her to support this legislation.

    26 responses to “Federal Measure Introduced to Form National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy”

    1. Ben says:

      Think about it.

      Stop wasting resources and peoples lives and time.

      Stop funneling money into the hands of the enemy.

      Start accepting payment of a legitimate right and the enterprises making profit on it.

      Embrace legalization.

      Prohibition failed on all fronts.
      It failed alcohol.
      It failed cannabis.
      It has even failed other drugs,
      (which, while I am not in favor of-
      prohibition still gains us NOTHING)
      It has also failed regarding firearms and weapons.

      Laws do not stop crime=
      laws create crimes.

      Nothing should be a crime which does not hurt another.


      Thanks team NORML.

      Let’s do this.

    2. Chadwick says:

      The bill text isn’t online yet. If enacted this session, at what point in time would the commission have to report its findings?

    3. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowski also said he doesn’t believe that Colorado and Washington are indicative of public opinion, among other questionable commets.

    4. shawn says:

      they already had a commission the schaefer commission and the Nixon completely ignored it

    5. Will says:

      I just wanted to express my disagreement with the statement made in the image at the top of this article (http://assets.blog.norml.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Screen-shot-2011-10-17-at-2.57.26-PM.png). Under current law in Michigan, I’m already taxed by the state to the tune of $100 annually for my medical marijuana registry card. There are taxes on the electricity and other utility expenses that I incur in the process of growing for personal use. Over the course of America’s history we’ve gone from being able to pay taxes with cannabis to being licensed and taxed for the privilege of growing it, and you see nothing wrong with this picture? Aren’t we taxed, fined, imprisoned, and persecuted enough already?

    6. TheOracle says:

      This is great news! It could speed things up a lot for D.C. and the rest of the country. D.C. won’t have to wait for their ballot initiative to pass, then have to worry about the next Bob Barr if this progresses. If it stagnates, nothing changes.

      I contacted my representative, but unfortunately Joe Pitts, Republican from Pennsylvania, is exactly as his name portrays him. He’s the pits, a dick with ears and an asswipe who’ll never ever vote for anything pro-cannabis, unless somehow cannabis money contributes big-time to him or a bunch of his major backers. This is tobacco country, and Pennsylvania is thinking about raising tobacco taxes (again) because of its budget woes, and the farmers are looking for something else to plant to take the place of the expected reduction in tobacco demand. Someone from Penn State did a study on cannabis cultivation in Pennsylvania years ago but then the tobacco companies gave the farmers new varieties of tobacco, including organic, that would net them more income. They played that card. Now what, Joe? You know the young Amish like that “Green Corn.”

      I hope this legislation gets feet and goes somewhere. The sooner cannabis is legalized the better.

    7. Cat Cassie says:

      I’m glad to hear there are people with a loud voice going up to bat for us. However from recent comments made by Holder and drug czar Gil it sounds like they are working on letting us down easy so there is not an uprising when that big federal boot comes stomping down on the will of the people.

    8. Evening Bud says:

      @ BobKat,

      Hey brother, there’s that Shafer Commission you were talking about.

      PS–hope you saw my last post to you before the heading changed. It’s always cool.

    9. billy says:

      aiyo weed is cool yo smoke a blunt yo. word!

      peace yo