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  1. Guttz
    Ron Paul and Barney Frank have teamed up again (after their successful joint HuffPo editorial of 2010) to introduce legislation legalizing marijuana. Not decriminalizing it, but actually totally legalizing it. Wouldn't that be wild?

    It is being billed as "bipartisan legislation" but obviously Ron Paul is the only Republican co-sponsor. According to the Marijuana Policy Project: "The legislation is the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition."

    On this, the (disputed) 40th anniversary of the War on Drugs, basically every thinking person agrees that marijuana prohibition is an expensive failure. But this will probably not even get a floor debate in the House of Representatives. Or maybe I'm wrong! We'll see!

    Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 15:45 ET
    http://www.salon.com/life/drugs/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/06/22/frank_paul_weed

Comments

  1. Guttz
    Marijuana Bill In Congress: Barney Frank, Ron Paul Legislation Would End Federal Ban

    [imgl=white]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=20900&stc=1&d=1308826532[/imgl]Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) will introduce legislation on Thursday to end the federal ban on marijuana and let the states decide whether to legalize it.

    “The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal,” according to the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for pot legalization. “The legislation is the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.”

    More than a dozen states allow the sale of medical marijuana, but the practice is not legal under federal law, leading to confusion and clashes between local and federal authorities.

    In March, for example, DEA agents raided two medical marijuana dispensaries in West Hollywood, California, and 26 dispensaries in 13 cities across Montana.

    This despite the Obama administration's announcement two years ago that it would not arrest or prosecute medical marijuana users or suppliers who are not violating local laws -- a reversal of the Bush administration's policy that federal drug laws should be enforced even in states that had legalized medical marijuana. Attorney General Eric Holder has said he will clarify the Justice Department's position.

    The bill by Frank and Paul comes 40 years after President Richard Nixon first declared a war on drugs. Last week, to commemorate the anniversary, a group of former law enforcement officials unveiled a new report detailing the failures of the government's long battle against illegal drugs and denounces the Obama administration's current drug policies.

    "Since President Nixon declared 'war on drugs' four decades ago, this failed policy has led to millions of arrests, a trillion dollars spent and countless lives lost, yet drugs today are more available than ever," said Norm Stamper, former chief of police in Seattle and a speaker for legalization-advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

    "President Obama's drug officials keep saying they've ended the 'drug war,'" the LEAP member said. "But our report shows that's just not true."

    First Posted: 06/22/11 10:41 PM ET
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/22/marijuana-bill-barney-frank-ron-paul_n_882707.html
  2. Balzafire
    Stubborn Congressman Tries to Block Marijuana Legalization Bill

    Barney Frank and Ron Paul's historic bill to end federal marijuana prohibition is generating a lot of excitement around the country, but in Washington D.C., it's already becoming another reminder of the arrogant drug war politics that have long obstructed the path to reform.

    Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) was quick to announce his plans to prevent this important debate from ever taking place:

    The bill appears 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."

    Smith cited the theory that pot is a gateway drug, and then added the curious belief that legalizing weed would increase the coffers of drug lords.

    "Decriminalizing marijuana will only lead to millions more Americans becoming addicted to drugs and greater profits for drug cartels who fund violence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Allowing states to determine their own marijuana policy flies in the face of Supreme Court precedent," Smith said. (LA Times)


    That's a mouthful of madness if I ever heard one, and if my ideas about marijuana were as wildly divorced from reality as those, I wouldn't want a public hearing on the matter either. I mean, really, just imagine Lamar Smith trying to explain how Mexican smugglers would profit from Americans growing their own pot, or reminding us when exactly it was that the Supreme Court ruled that states aren't allowed to make their own laws.

    Our friends at NORML have a fun PSA that sums all of this up quite nicely.


    by Scott Morgan
    June 29, 2011
    http://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2011/jun/29/stubborn_congressman_tries_block
  3. Mitakuye Oyasin
    I think we should all flood the office of Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and anyone else publicly going against this bill with calls, emails, faxes, etc until they can no longer do business as usual. Nothing coming out of this guys mouth is based in fact or reality or science my guess is that he and the people who support him financially are making money off of the war on drugs and the prohibition on drugs and stand to lose money once a bill like this is enacted.
  4. jon-q
    Why Barney Frank and Ron Paul are wrong on drug legalization

    From certain precincts on the left, notably Barney Frank, to certain precincts on the right, notably the editorial page of National Review, we are witnessing a new push to end the so-called war on drugs and legalize drug use, starting with marijuana. Indeed, Ron Paul, Barney Frank's co-sponsor in the latest legislative effort, said recently he would go so far as to legalize heroin.

    It's a bad idea. My friends at National Review begin their case by stating the illegalization of drugs has "curtailed personal freedom, created a violent black market and filled our prisons." But the legalization of drugs, including marijuana, would exacerbate each of these problems.

    Starting with the basics, keeping drugs illegal is one of the best ways to keep drugs out of the hands -- and brains -- of children. We know three things here: First, children who don't use drugs continually tell us one of the reasons they don't is precisely because they are illegal.

    For example, since at least 1975, report after report has found that "perceptions of the risk and social disapproval of drug use correlate very closely with drug taking behavior." When those in the drug prevention community ask teens who don't use drugs why they don't, time and again, the answer comes back "because it's illegal." This, of course, explains why a greater percentage of teens abuse legal substances like tobacco and alcohol over illegal drugs such as marijuana -- even when they say marijuana is easily accessible.

    Second, keeping drugs out of the hands of children is the best way to prevent drug addiction generally, as study after study has confirmed that if we keep a child drug free until age 21, the chances of use in adulthood are next to zero.

    Third, we don't need to guess at hypothetical legalization schemes. Our experience with legally prescribed narcotics has already proven it, and we now have an epidemic. This, despite doing everything the theorists have asked, from oversight to regulation to prescription requirements.


    Normalizing, de-stigmatizing, and legalizing illegal drugs lowers their price and increases their use. As a recent RAND study on California found, legalization of marijuana there would cut the price by as much as 80% and increase use from as little as 50% to as much as 100%. Just what California, just what our society, needs.

    As for the current drug policies curtailing personal freedom, the question is: "Whose freedom?" The drug dealers', sure -- the drug consumers, no.
    As any parent with a child addicted to drugs will explain, as any visit to a drug rehab center will convey, those caught in the web of addiction are anything but free. And it is not because of their incarceration or rehabilitation, it is because of the vicious cycle of dependency, waste and brain damage addiction and abuse cause.

    Let us make no mistake about this, either: Marijuana is much more potent and causes much more damage than we used to know. Today's marijuana tests on average at more than 10% THC (the psychoactive ingredient). We are even seeing samples of more than 30% THC. This is compared to the relatively lower levels of THC most legalizing proponents were more familiar with in generations past (under 4% in the early 1980s, even lower in the 1960s).

    Chronic adolescent marijuana use has been found to be associated with "poorer performance on thinking tasks, including slower psychomotor speed and poorer complex attention, verbal memory and planning ability." We are seeing study after study finding adolescent marijuana use responsible for "disrupted brain development" in teens. Worse, we are seeing more and more studies showing teen marijuana use linked to psychosis.

    As for the high incarceration rates for simple marijuana use and possession, it is a myth. As government documentation actually shows, over 97% of sentencing on federal marijuana-related charges is for trafficking, less than 2% is for simple possession. Indeed, the only National Review authority with federal prosecutorial experience that I know of backs this point up: "Actual enforcement is targeted at big distributors. People who merely possess drugs for personal use well know they are substantially safe no matter what the statutes say."

    We have had a fair amount of experience with legalization and decriminalization schemes. What are those communities now saying? Citizens are trying to put the genie back in the bottle, from Northern California (where residents have complained that medical marijuana has "spawned crime, drug cartels and teenage pot use"), to the Netherlands (where drug tourism, use by minors, and border trafficking has increased), to England (where apologies have been made for endorsing decriminalization in light of the subsequent growth of teen drug treatment needs), to Colorado (where easy access has increased demand, "made a mockery" of the legal system, and is increasingly endangering public safety).

    We have an illegal drug abuse epidemic in this country and it has not been given enough attention. But the cultural messages, as much as the law, matter. When we unified on this, as we once did, drug use went down. When we let up, as we now have, use increases.

    The libertarian experiment promoted as a novel theory by some will only make things worse. More legalization equals more damage, waste, crime and abuse. Not less. That is why it is no time to surrender.



    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of William J. Bennett.


    William J. Bennett
    CNN 30th June 2011
    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/06/30/bennett.drug.legalization/index.html
  5. CaptainTripps
    This is a very important development for a lot of reasons. Although it is highly unlikely that this will become law, it is at least starting the debate. It is bringing the issue into the public eye.

    The primary reason this is important is that the states really don't have the power to legalize marijuana under the current laws. A lot of time and energy has been spent on state legalization measures, but without a lot of meaningful success. States that have medical marijuana laws have been able to administer them with mixed results.

    The extent that they have had any success is that the Obama administration has had a policy that enforcing federal marijuana laws against people who were in compliance with state medical marijuana laws would be a low priority. This had been interpreted as it was "OK" to break federal law if in compliance with state law. This seems to have changed. It now appears that dispensaries are fair game.

    In Washington state, federal US Attorneys actually threatened to prosecute state workers for their regulatory role in a state law that would have allowed dispensaries. The governor used this as an excuse to veto most of the bill. Ironically the parts she allowed actually made things worse than the old imitative based law that was worded poorly and crated a gray area for dispensaries. The new law makes it clear they are illegal.

    The feds are making it clear that even medical marijuana is illegal and will only be allowed in very limited circumstances. It is also clear their are no guarantees as to how long this "tolerance" will last. It could change on a whim and things are almost certain to get worse should Obama lose the election to any of the likely republican candidates(except Ron Paul).

    Most of the incentives to the average citizen such as taxation and better regulation are virtually meaningless in the context of federal supremacy. This is because the feds have the power to prevent it. The best that the states can do is to legalize in a way that looks more like decriminalization.

    What is so cool about this is what it does not do. It does not legalize marijuana, but rather allows states to have their own laws. States rights has long been an issue that conservatives, at least in theory. have endorsed. It also allows the federal government to avoid taking a stand on the issue of the medical use of marijuana. A legislator would have the luxury of supporting the bill and still be anti-marijuana.. This could mean the difference in getting votes.

    The public is getting tired of the politics in Washington D.C. People want more local control. They are also tired of the politics of obstruction. Filibusters and committee chairman preventing a vote on the issues. It is not a good political move to be viewed as someone who sees themselves as a one man government.

    I am not sure how this bill would address international or interstate transportation, but if the bill did retain federal control in this area this could also be a selling point for states that chose not to legalize. If the feds continued to provide logistical support for states that did not legalize there would be more federal support for those states, as they would not have to help states that had legalized. Also the feds now put more emphasis on the amount of marijuana involved than if it is crossing state lines. They are more likely to prosecute someone for transporting 100 kilos of marijuana from Seattle to Spokane than someone transporting 90 kilos from Seattle to Boise. That is because a 100 kilos is where mandatory minimums kick in. If something like this passes, the emphasis would be on crossing state lines. In short anti marijuana states would get more federal help within their states and more help keeping marijuana from other states out.

    This would be a win/win situation for both the states that choose to legalize and those that want to maintain prohibition. It would also create more respect for the federal government. A respect that would be deserved. America is too large and diverse for a one size fits all marijuana policy.
  6. talltom
    Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial: Marijuana on the table

    Congressmen Barney Frank (D., Mass.) and Ron Paul (R., Texas) have introduced a bill to end the federal prohibition on marijuana and free the states to decide whether to legalize the drug for medical or recreational purposes.

    Under the best of circumstances, congressional action would be just the right medicine for Gov. Christie, who has refused to sign New Jersey's medical-marijuana law until he is certain that federal authorities would honor it.

    Some medical-marijuana dispensaries in California were raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration earlier this year, despite being legal and despite the Obama administration's having said it would lay off dispensaries that operate within state laws.

    But the Frank-Paul bill is unlikely to go anywhere soon, if it moves at all, which means New Jersey cancer and other patients who would benefit from medical marijuana are unlikely to get relief unless Christie relies on previous assurances that federal authorities gave to the states.

    Under the Frank-Paul measure, states would be able to choose to keep the drug outlawed, decriminalize it for medical purposes, or make it completely legal. Federal authorities' involvement would be limited to prosecuting international or interstate smuggling.

    If nothing else, the legislation might open the door to a conversation that this country needs to have about the future course of the war on drugs, which has produced dubious results since being declared decades ago.

    The Sentencing Project, a prison reform organization, says almost half of all U.S. drug arrests are for marijuana, and nearly 80 percent of the marijuana arrests are for possession. Only about 6 percent of the marijuana cases lead to a felony conviction.

    And what is the impact? An estimated $4 billion is spent annually on the arrest, prosecution, and incarceration of marijuana offenders. Those arrests disproportionately impact African Americans, who represent about 14 percent of marijuana users but 30 percent of arrests.

    The federal government's current approach to marijuana certainly needs clarity, so the states can take up the issue and consider all the implications of legalization without fearing that whatever they do would be moot.

    Marijuana is a drug that should be regulated to some degree. But there is strong evidence that current laws should be updated.

    Philadelphia Inquirer
    Jul 8, 2011

    http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/inquirer/20110625
  7. Balzafire
    Why Barney Frank and Ron Paul are wrong on drug legalization

    [imgl=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=21322&stc=1&d=1310413006[/imgl](CNN) -- From certain precincts on the left, notably Barney Frank, to certain precincts on the right, notably the editorial page of National Review, we are witnessing a new push to end the so-called war on drugs and legalize drug use, starting with marijuana. Indeed, Ron Paul, Barney Frank's co-sponsor in the latest legislative effort, said recently he would go so far as to legalize heroin.

    It's a bad idea. My friends at National Review begin their case by stating the illegalization of drugs has "curtailed personal freedom, created a violent black market and filled our prisons." But the legalization of drugs, including marijuana, would exacerbate each of these problems.

    Ron Paul, Barney Frank: End pot prohibition

    Starting with the basics, keeping drugs illegal is one of the best ways to keep drugs out of the hands -- and brains -- of children. We know three things here: First, children who don't use drugs continually tell us one of the reasons they don't is precisely because they are illegal.

    For example, since at least 1975, report after report has found that "perceptions of the risk and social disapproval of drug use correlate very closely with drug taking behavior." When those in the drug prevention community ask teens who don't use drugs why they don't, time and again, the answer comes back "because it's illegal." This, of course, explains why a greater percentage of teens abuse legal substances like tobacco and alcohol over illegal drugs such as marijuana -- even when they say marijuana is easily accessible.

    Second, keeping drugs out of the hands of children is the best way to prevent drug addiction generally, as study after study has confirmed that if we keep a child drug free until age 21, the chances of use in adulthood are next to zero.

    Third, we don't need to guess at hypothetical legalization schemes. Our experience with legally prescribed narcotics has already proven it, and we now have an epidemic. This, despite doing everything the theorists have asked, from oversight to regulation to prescription requirements.

    Normalizing, de-stigmatizing, and legalizing illegal drugs lowers their price and increases their use. As a recent RAND study on California found, legalization of marijuana there would cut the price by as much as 80% and increase use from as little as 50% to as much as 100%. Just what California, just what our society, needs.

    As for the current drug policies curtailing personal freedom, the question is: "Whose freedom?" The drug dealers', sure -- the drug consumers, no.

    As any parent with a child addicted to drugs will explain, as any visit to a drug rehab center will convey, those caught in the web of addiction are anything but free. And it is not because of their incarceration or rehabilitation, it is because of the vicious cycle of dependency, waste and brain damage addiction and abuse cause.

    Let us make no mistake about this, either: Marijuana is much more potent and causes much more damage than we used to know. Today's marijuana tests on average at more than 10% THC (the psychoactive ingredient). We are even seeing samples of more than 30% THC. This is compared to the relatively lower levels of THC most legalizing proponents were more familiar with in generations past (under 4% in the early 1980s, even lower in the 1960s).

    Chronic adolescent marijuana use has been found to be associated with "poorer performance on thinking tasks, including slower psychomotor speed and poorer complex attention, verbal memory and planning ability." We are seeing study after study finding adolescent marijuana use responsible for "disrupted brain development" in teens. Worse, we are seeing more and more studies showing teen marijuana use linked to psychosis.

    As for the high incarceration rates for simple marijuana use and possession, it is a myth. As government documentation actually shows, over 97% of sentencing on federal marijuana-related charges is for trafficking, less than 2% is for simple possession. Indeed, the only National Review authority with federal prosecutorial experience that I know of backs this point up: "Actual enforcement is targeted at big distributors. People who merely possess drugs for personal use well know they are substantially safe no matter what the statutes say."

    We have had a fair amount of experience with legalization and decriminalization schemes. What are those communities now saying? Citizens are trying to put the genie back in the bottle, from Northern California (where residents have complained that medical marijuana has "spawned crime, drug cartels and teenage pot use"), to the Netherlands (where drug tourism, use by minors, and border trafficking has increased), to England (where apologies have been made for endorsing decriminalization in light of the subsequent growth of teen drug treatment needs), to Colorado (where easy access has increased demand, "made a mockery" of the legal system, and is increasingly endangering public safety).

    We have an illegal drug abuse epidemic in this country and it has not been given enough attention. But the cultural messages, as much as the law, matter. When we unified on this, as we once did, drug use went down. When we let up, as we now have, use increases.

    The libertarian experiment promoted as a novel theory by some will only make things worse. More legalization equals more damage, waste, crime and abuse. Not less. That is why it is no time to surrender.


    By William J. Bennett
    CNN Contributor
    June 30, 2011
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/06/30/bennett.drug.legalization/index.html?iref=allsearch
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