Barney Frank, Decriminalization, FEDS, HR 2306, Legalization, Peace with War on Drugs, Ron Paul

 Marijuana Legislation | HR 2306

June 2011:

Yep – that’s right – Barney Frank [D] and Ron Paul, [R] – have proposed a bill that won’t do away with laws regulating marijuana entirely – BUT –  it DOES end the FEDERAL BAN on pot!

This is HUGE – if POT is no longer a “Federally Controlled Substance” – FINALLY  and we mean, FINALLY – both States and OPERATORS of legal collectives, clubs and delivery services can get “down to business” without the spector of the FEDs showing up – uprooting everything set-up to support local medical marijuana patients!

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a Collective or Farm?

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Reported in LA Times:

Marijuana laws should be set at the state, not federal, level, Reps. Ron Paul and Barney Frankargued in a bill they introduced Thursday.

By Chip Somodevilla, Getty Image

The goal of the bill, HR 2306, is not to legalize marijuana but to remove it from the list of federally controlled substances while allowing states to decide how they will regulate it.

“I do not advocate urging people to smoke marijuana. Neither do I urge them to drink alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco,” said Frank (D-Mass.). “But in none of these cases do I think prohibition enforced by criminal sanctions is good public policy.

“Criminally prosecuting adults for making the choice to smoke marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources and an intrusion on personal freedom,” he added.

Frank admitted in a conference call Thursday that he didn’t think the bill had a chance of passing, but according to Reason’s Hit & Run blog, the congressman was “particularly struck by the hypocrisy of public officials who will themselves talk about smoking marijuana, wink at it, and then make it criminal for other people,” which leads to “a very discriminatory pattern of enforcement.” [ed note: KEYMASTER [R-TEXAS] LAMAR SMITH – SAYS “HIS” PANEL WON’T CONSIDER IT – because the FDA has no “approved” use – that hasn’t stopped them from considering other items that are not endorsed by FDA]

The bill appears [DOA] doomed on arrival, according to the Associated Press, which reported that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said his panel, which the proposed law is required to venture through, would not even consider it.

“Marijuana use and distribution is prohibited under federal law because it has a high potential for abuse and does not have an accepted medical use in the U.S.,” said Smith, who like Paul is a Texas Republican. “The Food and Drug Administration has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease.”

as reported on CBS:

According to the MPP: “Rep. Frank’s legislation would end state/federal conflicts over marijuana policy, reprioritize federal resources, and provide more room for states to do what is best for their own citizens.”

Reps. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) will introduce legislation Thursday that would allow states to make their own rules on legalizing marijuana.

While GOP presidential candidate Paul and the very liberal Frank might seem an odd pair, this legislation is right up Paul’s libertarian alley, as it focuses on allowing states to do what they want without interference from Washington, D.C.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland).

While some, including the MPP and The Los Angeles Times, claim it is the first legislation of its kind to be proposed in Congress that would end the 73-year-old federal marijuana prohibition that began with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, there have been other marijuana-related bills in Congress in recent years.

In fact, Rep. Frank himself introduced as many as two marijuana-related bills in 2009 alone, both of which appear to have died in subcommittee and never even been considered for a vote. H.R. 2835 sought to “provide for the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the laws of the various States.” H.R. 2943sought to “eliminate most Federal penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use, and for other purposes.”

While it is very likely the current piece of marijuana legislation will end up in the same place as Frank’s previous two efforts, it is still part of a growing chorus of voices seeking to alter the debate on the war on drugs. With the U.S. spending $15 billion per year on the war on drugs, and with little to no apparent gains made in the last 40 years since it started, theirs will surely not be the last prominent voices to question why marijuana is illegal.

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George Boyadjian

Founder of 420 College.

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