Usa: New bill would remove federal marijuana regulation

USA: NEW BILL WOULD REMOVE FEDERAL MARIJUANA REGULATION
mapinc / By Christine Rushton, Source: Daily Evergreen

The Proposed Bill Would Leave the Regulation of Marijuana to State Governments.

HR 2306, the bipartisan bill known as Ending the Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, was introduced into Congress on June 23 by D-Rep. Barney Frank with the support of R-Rep. Ron Paul. If passed, the bill would not legalize marijuana, but would remove regulation from the federal level and be left to the discretion of the states. The bill lists a number of sections in federal law where marijuana would be removed, essentially striking it from the federal list of "controlled substances." The states would then have the power to regulate, tax or prohibit them on their own terms. "A bill to limit the application of Federal laws to the distribution and consumption of marijuana, and for other purposes," the HR 2306 bill document said in its introduction. According to Politico, the bill is modeled after the 21st amendment, which repealed the alcohol prohibition. During an interview about the proposal, Paul said that the prohibition is a catastrophe. Kids are able to obtain marijuana more easily than alcohol and marijuana is beneficial for many cancer patients, he said. "The war against marijuana causes so much hardship and accomplishes nothing," Paul said. "We knew prohibition of alcohol was very bad, so this is just getting back to a sensible position on how we handle difficult problems." According to their website, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws [NORML] and their state affiliates, like Washington NORML, act with the intention to educate the public, lobby state and federal officials and gain overall support for the elimination of the criminal prohibition on marijuana. Kevin Oliver, the executive director of Washington NORML, said they need support for the bill. "Once the bill has been introduced and has a bill number, we should all begin asking our elected representatives in the House to co-sponsor the measure," Oliver said. Brady Irwin, the CFO for the WSU branch of Students for Sensible Drug Policy [SSDP] and NORML, said that this legislation would be a huge win for the anti-prohibition movement. He said he does not know if this bill will be the one, but it is a step in the right direction.

"The cannabis culture is no longer marginalized to the outer edges of society, and the discussion of drug reform has extended to every level of government and society," Irwin said. "We are experiencing a paradigm shift in the way our society views cannabis. I feel it is only a matter of time before the federal prohibition of cannabis is ended and it becomes a matter of states’ rights." According to Irwin, WSU SSDP/NORML is a combination of two student-run organizations that work together to promote responsible use, patient rights, and policy reform. He said the drive behind legalizing marijuana is users don’t want to break the law. He also said users also don’t want to sit idly and be scrutinized by past generations when users see unjust laws hindering their freedom of choice. "I feel blessed to live in a country where as an individual I can stand up and change the laws to better serve our society," Irwin said. "Cannabis is a safer alternative to alcohol and deserves to be regulated accordingly. Responsible cannabis users deserve to have a choice." Irwin said he cautions individuals who blame the police for laws against marijuana. He said the police work to keep the community safe and law abiding. "If a person has an issue with the laws, it is their duty as a citizen to stand up and do something about it," Irwin said. "Blaming the police for doing the job we pay them to do is the wrong response." The bill is in its initial stages in Congress. D-Rep. John Conyers, D-Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Rep. Jared Polis, and D-Rep. Barbara Lee also support the bill.

MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.

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