Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, along with co-sponsors Ron Paul (R-TX); Maurice Hinchey (D-NY); Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA); and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), has reintroduced legislation to limit the federal government's authority to arrest and prosecute minor marijuana offenders.
The measure, HR 2943, an "Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults," would eliminate federal penalties for the personal possession of up to 100 grams (three and one-half ounces) of cannabis and for the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce of pot - making the prosecutions of these offenses strictly a state matter.
Under federal law, defendants found guilty of possessing small amounts of cannabis for their own personal use face up to one year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.
Passage of this act would provide state lawmakers the choice to maintain their current penalties for minor marijuana offenses or eliminate them completely.
Lawmakers would also have the option to explore legal alternatives to tax and regulate the adult use and distribution of cannabis free from federal interference.
HR 2943 is now before both the House Judiciary Committee, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
June 18, 2009
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