Topic: Law and
Co-Sponsors Marijuana Legalization Bill
More than 734,000 individuals were arrested on marijuana
charges in 2000. Eighty-eight percent of those arrested were
charged with marijuana possession only.
by Kipper Mathews
Tuesday, May 6,
On April 17 2008 US Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
introduced two bills addressing the federal penalties for
marijuana possession and the use of medical marijuana. The
first decriminalization bill introduced in Congress for the
last 24 years.
The first bill HR5843, co-sponsored by Reps, Ron Paul
(R-TX) and William Lacy (D-MO) would eliminate all existing
federal penalties including arrest, incarceration and fines
that prohibit the possession and personal use of less than 100
grams of marijuana.
According to Congressman Frank "It is poor law enforcement
to keep on the books legislation that establishes as a crime
something in which society does not seriously wish to
prosecute." He then followed up by saying, "Having federal law
enforcement agents engaged in the prosecution of people who
are personally using marijuana is a waste of scarce resources
better used for serious crimes."
A national poll in Oct. 2007 conducted by CNN found that 40
percent of those surveyed favored possession of small
quantities of marijuana, while 70 percent thought that
offenders should be fined but not jailed.
There are currently 12 states that have passed laws
decriminalizing marijuana for personal use:: Alaska,
California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada,
New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon.
In the other bill authored by Franks, HR 5842, cosponsored
by Reps. Paul, Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Maurice Hinchey
(D-NY), and Sam Farr (D-CA), would
force the DEA and other federal
authorities to respect states’ current laws on medicinal
cannabis and end DEA raids on facilities distributing medical
marijuana legally under state law.
"When doctors recommend the use of marijuana for their
patients and states are willing to permit it, I think it’s
wrong for the federal government to subject either the doctors
or the patients to criminal prosecution," Frank said. "The
norm in America is for the states to decide whether particular
behaviors should be made criminal."
60,000 individuals are behind bars for marijuana
offenses at a cost to taxpayers of $1.2 billion per
REFERENCE: Marijuana Arrests and
Incarceration in the United States. 1999. The Federation
of American Scientists’ Drug Policy Analysis Bulletin.
Taxpayers annually spend between $7.5 billion and
$10 billion arresting and prosecuting individuals for
marijuana violations. Almost 90 percent of these arrests are
for marijuana possession only.
The state of California saved nearly $1 billion
dollars from 1976 to 1985 by decriminalizing the personal
possession of one ounce of marijuana, according to a study of
the state justice department budget.
Aldrich and T. Mikuriya. 1988.
New Mexico’s 2001 state-commissioned Drug
Policy Advisory Group determined that marijuana
decriminalization "will result in greater availability of
resources to respond to more serious crimes without any
increased risks to public safety."
Mexico Governor’s Drug Policy Advisory Group. 2001.
Marijuana arrests have more than doubled since
1991, while adult use of the drug has remained stable. During
this same period, the number of arrests for cocaine and heroin
fell by approximately 33 percent.
Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2000.
Police arrest more Americans per year on marijuana
charges than the total number of arrestees for all violent
crimes combined, including murder, rape, robbery and
REFERENCE: Federal Bureau of
Marijuana violations constitute the fifth
most common criminal offense in the United
REFERENCE: Bureau of Justice Statistics.
More than 734,000 individuals were arrested on
marijuana charges in 2000. Eighty-eight percent of those
arrested were charged with marijuana possession only.
REFERENCE: Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2001.
Almost 5 million Americans have been arrested for
marijuana since 1992. That’s more than the entire populations
of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota,
Vermont, Washington DC and Wyoming combined.
REFERENCE. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to editors of the prestigious Lancet
British medical journal: "The smoking of cannabis, even
long-term, is not harmful to health. … It would be
reasonable to judge cannabis as less of a threat … than
alcohol or tobacco."
According to a 1999 federally commissioned report
by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine
(IOM), "Except for the harms associated with smoking, the
adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range
tolerated for other medications."
National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine (IOM).
The National Academy of Sciences further found,
"There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of
marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other
REFERENCE: National Academy of
Sciences, Institute of Medicine (IOM). 1999.
More than 76 million Americans have admittedly
tried marijuana. The overwhelming majority of these users did
not go on to become regular marijuana users, try other illicit
drugs, or suffer any deleterious effects to their
REFERENCE: Combined data from the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services. 1996.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, 35 percent of adults admit to having tried
marijuana. Of these, only 5 percent have used marijuana in the
past year, and only 3 percent have used marijuana in the past
month. According to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter:
"Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an
individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this
more clear than in the laws against the possession of
marijuana in private for personal use."
REFERENCE: President Jimmy Carter: Message to
Congress, August 2, 1977
Convicted marijuana offenders are denied federal
financial student aid, welfare and food stamps, and may be
removed from public housing. Other non-drug violations do not
carry such penalties. In many states, convicted marijuana
offenders are automatically stripped of their driving
privileges, even if the offense is not driving related.
REFERENCE: Section 483, Subsection F of the
Higher Education Act of 1998.
Under federal law, possessing a single marijuana
cigarette or less is punishable by up to one year in prison
and a $10,000 fine, the same penalty as possession of small
amounts of heroin, cocaine or crack.
J. Morgan and L. Zimmer. 1997.
In several states, marijuana offenders may receive
maximum sentences of life in prison.
A recent national study found that blacks are
arrested for marijuana offenses at higher rates than whites in
90 percent of 700 U.S. counties investigated. In 64 percent of
these counties, the black arrest rate for marijuana violations
was more than twice the arrest rate for whites.
REFERENCE: J. Gettman. 2000. The NORML
Foundation: Washington, DC.
*Combined fact information above from Mike Gravel 08
A 2002 Time/CNN poll found 80 percent of respondents
support the legalization of medical marijuana.
There are currently 12 states that have laws protecting
medical marijuana patients from prosecution: Alaska,
California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana,
Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and
To date the DEA continues to raid medical marijuana
dispensaries operating in these states, enforcing the war on
drugs, free Americans.
The first time I knowingly violated the law and smoked
marijuana was in 1967… and yes I inhaled. At that time here
in California the penalty for possession of even a seed was 5
Our trusted government back then
proved in laboratory studies that "marijuana turned otherwise
normal human beings into psychotic lunatics that were capable
of suicide and other acts of violence without just case or
We’ve come a long way !
Demand the immediate release of all people serving time for
possession of marijuana , especially life sentences.
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Published: Tuesday, May
Last modified: Monday, May 26, 2008
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Posted By: George
According to Ron Paul’s book "The Revolution : A
Manifesto", the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 had little to do
with real science or medicine and a lot to do with petty
ethnic grudges, careerism in the Bureau of Narcotics,
disinformation and propaganda in the press, etc.. Hearings
on it took about 2 hours and had very little to do with the
health effects of marijuana. They had 2 "experts" testify on
the subject. One was a professor who injected 300 dogs with
the active ingredient in marijuana of which 2 died. When
asked whether he had chosen dogs for the similarity of their
reactions to those human beings, he shrugged and said, " I
don’t know, I am not a dog psychologist". The other expert
was a guy that represented the American Medical Association
and he said that knew of no evidence that marijuana was
dangerous drug. One congressman didn’t like his answer and
suggested that he go home. An "offical expert" was asked to
testify about the substance insanity-inducing properties. In
his testimony he claimed that after 2 puffs on a marijuana
cigarette, he turned into a bat and flew around the room for
15 mins. (lol)
That was pretty much all Congress needed to hear to
outlaw marijuana. If you want the whole story, read Ron
Paul’s book. It will open your eyes on the ignorance of
Posted By: Jess
Just to let you know, George Washington was
a huge advocate of mary jane! He grew it himself and
encouraged it’s growth throughout the southern states. He
wrote his gardener to remind him to seperate the male from
the females, so obviously he wasn’t growing it for rope! He
would be livid to know that we had outlawed his beloved
herb! Actually it was George who brought hemp to this
continent to begin with as it is NOT a native species and
it’s use in Mexico was a byproduct of it’s popularity here.
Check out "Sex, Drugs and Magick" by Robert Anton Wilson, he
quotes Washington’s diaries and writings, and gets more in
depth about the illegalization of drugs in this country.
Posted By: Gary R.
Date: 2008-05-06 08:21:30
Posted By: patrick
Date: 2008-05-06 09:08:16
Actually George Washington did not bring hemp to the new
world. Washington never left the country. If you remember
the first form of european government in the new world was
communism with John Smiths common store. The communist
government of what became the state of VA MANDATED hemp be
grown for the colony. George Washington was indeed a hemp
As far as an indigenous plant, I would disagree, in
his letters to George Mason he had thanked him for the
English hemp seeds he had brought back as they were less
harsh than the Indian hemp of the Americas (hemp is a native
The first draft of the Declaration of Independance was
written on VA Hemp paper grown of Jeffersons farm.
The signed document was printed on English Hemp
paper meant as an insult,
Cannabis is the oldest recorded herb used for medicinal
purposes used in China 16000 years ago.
The fact that the FED usurps its power by over turning
state propositions for legalization should have us all in
arms as a direct assault on states sovreignty.
Phillip Morris and Anheser-Busch are huge contributors to
the war on drugs.
Read the "Emporer wears no clothes" by Jack Herrer
Biodeiesel can be made from hemp for 38 cents a gallon
with almost no carbon emissions.
The US Government commissioned farmers during WWII to
grow cannabis, see "Hemp for Victory"- US Dept of
Hemp meets none of the classification rules of the
Controlled Substance Act of 1970, which makes it Federally
Cannabis prohibition is less successful than alcohol
END THE DRUG WAR
Posted By: GetReal
In the earliest days of America, immigrants
were required to grow cannibis because it was the most
useful plant known. The earliest settlers would not have
survived without this plant of many uses. Taxes were
collected in cannibis only. New Americans who refused to
grow cannibis were often jailed for not growing it. Over the
years the situation has been spun 180 degrees. Medical users
are crowding the jails at tax-payer expence just for trying
to survive. American farmers are going bankrupt because they
are not allowed to grow industrial hemp. If you’ve read this
far, contact your Congressman and ask for their support to
right this travesty of justice! Tell your US representative
to support HR5843 & HR 5842.
Posted By: Jess
The word "hemp" is not Native American, but
English first coined around 1000 AD. The cannabis plant is
indigenous to Asia, though different strains were bred
throughout the ancient world. The strain Washington
preferred was the India strain. I was wrong about him
bringing it here as it was brought here by the English to be
used for the manufacturing of rope and sails. From "The
Writings of Washington" vol.35 pg 72 "What has been done
with the seed saved from the Indian Hemp last summer? It
ought, all of it, to have been sown again…" and on pg 323
"the Indian hemp is for all purposes superior to th New
Zealand variety." He really liked his
Posted By: David S
The people who would lose the most, if
marijuana is legalized, are those who are involved in
distributing and selling it illegally. Legalizing
it would put them out of business. It may just be my
suspicious nature but it makes me wonder if the politicians
who fight legalization are involved in the
Posted By: Libertas
Thanks for the point David.
This is exactly part of the problem, not only does
cannabis have a variety of uses, if packaged and sold it
could be taxed. (government revenue for the states)
(licensed growers could sale hemp for paper, rope, and
cloth.) Researchers would have an unlimited supply to test
for medicinal purposes, narrowing down why the over 400
compounds in hemp are so darn helpful. (Anyone in here drink
And as David mentioned, as soon as it is legal, the
federal government would (or states) start regulating it. If
you are caught selling unregulated marijuana you could be
fined for not having a license. (or other various things) I
do not necessarily believe that Fed regulation is necessary
but very much State regulation for taxes.
Monetarily it is a no brainer, safety wise, you cannot
OD, and legalization would get rid of a good portion of
demand in the black market, you will see a drop in crime
related to growing and sales.
Sry, I know some economists and some doctors that truly
see it as a cash crop that is not harnessed.
I did not even know about the biodiesel. Talk about
staying green. When will congress finally wake
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