Two House Dems say Legalize Recreational Marijuana
Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, February, 6th 2013 by THCFinder
When voters in Colorado and Washington state voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use last November, some wondered how the new statewide statutes would square with federal law, which still classifies marijuana as an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
But Rep. Jared Polis, D-Col., believes that a legal confrontation can be avoided: on Tuesday, along with Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., he introduced a bill legalizing marijuana and regulating it under the renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana, and Firearms.
The "Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act" would charge the renamed bureau with regulating marijuana as it does alcohol and tobacco. States would still be allowed to ban marijuana production and it would remain illegal to transport marijuana to a state where such a ban exists.
"This legislation doesn't force any state to legalize marijuana, but Colorado and the 18 other jurisdictions that have chosen to allow marijuana for medical or recreational use deserve the certainty of knowing that federal agents won't raid state-legal businesses," said Polis in a press release. "Congress should simply allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit and stop wasting federal tax dollars on the failed drug war."
Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com
Mexicos president opposes legalizing marijuana, calls it a gateway drug
Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, February, 6th 2013 by THCFinder
More than 12,000 people were murdered last year in the Mexican drug war, The Washington Post’s Nick Miroff reported, a figure that’s been largely unchanged over the past three years. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has vowed to cut down on the violence, and he recently talked with the German news magazine Der Spiegel about his priorities.
SPIEGEL: Some U.S. states have relaxed the prohibition of marijuana. Doesn’t that deprive the drug war of its credibility?
Peña Nieto: It should at least encourage a debate. I’m opposed to legalizing marijuana because it acts as a gateway drug.
[What it means: Marijuana may or may not be a gateway drug. Legalization may or may not bankrupt the cartels. But here Peña Nieto is reinforcing earlier statements by his administration that legalization in the United States may undermine efforts to stop the flow of marijuana across the border.
Shortly after Colorado and Washington voted to legalize the drug, Peña Nieto’s top adviser, Luis Videgaray, told a radio station in Mexico: “Obviously, we can’t handle a product that is illegal in Mexico, trying to stop its transfer to the United States, when in the United States ... it now has a different status,”.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com
Democrats seek to give states say over marijuana, levy tax
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, February, 5th 2013 by THCFinder
(Reuters) - The states would be free to decide whether to legalize marijuana without running afoul of federal law but would require purchasers to pay federal taxes on its sale under legislation being proposed by two Democratic lawmakers.
The proposed bills in the House of Representatives aim to offer a new federal policy toward pot, amid a growing movement to legalize it for personal use, whether recreational or medical.
Representatives Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Jared Polis of Colorado, both Democrats, planned to introduce the legislation on Tuesday.
One bill would end a federal ban on marijuana and give states jurisdiction over its use and regulate it in a similar way to alcohol sales, while the other would levy a federal tax, the congressmen said in a statement.
The Democrats' bills likely face a hurdle in the House where Republicans hold a majority and control what legislation moves forward. A similar, bipartisan effort by other representatives failed to gain traction in 2011.
Washington state and Colorado voted to legalize the drug in 2012 but now face questions on how to implement their laws while U.S. authorities still consider pot illegal. Illinois is also considering acting on the issue.
Eighteen states, including California and Oregon, plus the nation's capital city already allow sales for medical use to help certain patients cope with pain and other chronic conditions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state laws.
Last year's votes have buoyed those who support easing access to the drug, which U.S. health officials say is the most commonly used illegal drug. Polls show most Americans support legalizing pot.
Critics say that despite widespread use and acceptance, the drug carries health risks, especially for youth. They question whether the drug, derived from the cannabis plant and usually smoked, has benefits for medical use.
Advocates on both sides of the issue are waiting anxiously to see how federal authorities will act as Washington state and Colorado move forward.
Bill legalizing marijuana to be introduced in Pa.
Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, February, 1st 2013 by THCFinder
Pennsylvania will soon have the chance to go the route of Colorado and Washington.
State Sen. Daylin Leach has proposed legislation to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Pennsylvania. The Democratic senator, who represents Montgomery and Delaware counties, cited safety concerns, crime and potential tax revenues as reasons for bringing the proposal, which comes in the wake of votes to legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington.
“We would never, in a rational society, starting from scratch, have the policy we have now,” Leach said in an interview Monday. Prohibition, he added, creates a black market in which buyers don’t know what they’re getting — which can lead to especially harmful outcomes if the marijuana is laced with other, more dangerous drugs, such as PCP.
In addition, he argued that there is no reason to punish people who make bad health decisions.
“These are people who have done nothing to anybody, except they have decided to ingest an intoxicant,” Leach said.
However, even if pot were to become legal in Pennsylvania, Penn students wouldn’t have free reign to smoke. Marijuana usage is prohibited by University policy — and would remain so under the change.
“Regardless of state laws, institutions that receive federal funding (such as financial aid) must adhere to federal laws,” Julie Lyzinski, director for the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Program Initiatives, said in an email. Because using marijuana is banned by federal law, “regardless of Pennsylvania law, marijuana will remain illegal and against University policy at Penn.”
Read more: http://www.thedp.com
Ending Marijuana Prohibition in 2013
Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, January, 30th 2013 by THCFinder
Unless people have been hiding under a rock this past couple months, they know that more than 55 percent of voters in Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana on November 6. As a result, many people have grand expectations of how we're going to get closer to ending marijuana prohibition in the U.S. this year.
Here is what I think we can reasonably accomplish by the end of 2013:
1. Decriminalize Marijuana in Vermont: Gov. Pete Shumlin (D), a strong supporter of decriminalizing marijuana, partially campaigned on the issue and easily won re-election on November 6 with 58% of the vote. The Vermont Llegislature is poised to pass the bill he wants, so this legislation could become law by this summer.
2. Legalize Medical Marijuana in New Hampshire: Incoming Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) is a strong supporter of medical marijuana, so we expect her to sign a medical marijuana bill similar to those vetoed by former Gov. John Lynch (D) in 2009 and 2012.
3. Build Support for Legalization in the Rhode Island Legislature: We successfully legalized medical marijuana and decriminalized marijuana possession in Rhode Island in 2009 and 2012, respectively. There is now considerable momentum to tax and regulate (T&R) marijuana like alcohol, so we need to ensure that Rhode Island's state legislature becomes the first to do so.
4. Increase Support for Legalization in California, Maine, and Oregon: There will be a sincere effort to pass T&R bills through the legislatures in these three states. Should they fall short, MPP and its allies will pursue statewide ballot initiatives in November 2016, at which time all three will be expected to pass.
5. Build Our Base of Support Online: People have said that the Internet is marijuana legalization's best friend, and this could not have been more evident than it was last year. Campaigns mobilized their supporters, organizations raised funds, and the public was able to follow the progress in real time. Prohibitionists, who have depended on the government for its largess for years, are now at a disadvantage. Private citizens simply do not want to donate to them, and most information about marijuana is now reaching the public without being run through their filter.
6. Continue the Steady Drumbeat in the Media: National and local media outlets are covering the marijuana issue more than ever before. Communicating to voters through news coverage is the most cost-efficient way to increase public support for ending marijuana prohibition, so we need to keep the issue in the spotlight.
7. Build Support for Medical Marijuana in Congress: There are already approximately 185 members of the U.S. House who want to stop the U.S. Justice Department from spending taxpayer money on raiding medical marijuana businesses in the 18 states (and DC) where medical marijuana is legal. We want to reach 218 votes on this amendment, thereby ensuring the amendment's transfer to the U.S. Senate for an up-or-down vote.
8. Build Support for Ending Marijuana Prohibition in Congress: Last year, the first-ever bill to end the federal government's prohibition of marijuana attracted 21 sponsors. Our goal is to expand the number of sponsors to more than two-dozen during the 2013-2014 election season.
Looking outside our borders, we're also seeing progress in Colombia, Uruguay, and Chile, which have all been steadily moving away from marijuana prohibition. Although this is good news, most members of the U.S. Congress do not care much about what South American countries think on marijuana policy, so we should temper the wonderful developments south of the U.S. border with limited expectations of what will happen in our nation's capital.
Ultimately, the U.S. is the primary exporter of prohibition around the world. If we can solve the problem here, the rest of the world will have far more freedom to conduct their own experiments with regulating marijuana.
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