Has the time come to legalize marijuana? Over the last 50 years users have called for this to happen!
Lawmakers in DC will be presented with a bill today that could legalize marijuana across the US. When the legislation is introduced to the House, it will mark the first ever bill proposed to Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.
Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) are spearheading the legislation, with Reps Steve Cohen (D-TN), John Conyers (D-MI), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) all co-sponsors of the proposal. Though it is being billed as “bipartisan legislation,” Ron Paul is the only Republican that has so far signed-on. He has made the legalization of marijuana one of the priorities of his 2012 presidential run.
Speaking on Wednesday, Congresswoman Lee said, “The human cost of the failed drug war has been enormous – egregious racial disparities, shattered families, poverty, public health crises, prohibition-related violence, and the erosion of civil liberties.” Lee added that in the 40 years since President Richard Nixon launched his “war on drugs,” the US has spent over a trillion dollars to incarcerate millions of young people on drug charges.
An average of 800,000 people are arrested each year on marijuana charges.
“I co-sponsored this bipartisan legislation because I believe it is time to turn the page from this failed drug war,” Lee added.
Speaking to LA Weekly, former cop and head of law Enforcement Against Prohibition Neill Franklin says, “Making marijuana illegal hasn’t prevented anyone from using it, but it has created a huge funding source that funnels billions of dollars in tax-free profits to violent drug cartels and gangs.”
“More and more cops now agree: Legalizing marijuana will improve public safety.”
If legislation passes, the federal government will still be able to enforce cross-border and inter-state smuggling, however, they will have no say in the growing or selling or marijuana in the states that allow it.
Sixteen states across America and the District of Columbia have so far legalized marijuana usage for medical purposes, but the planting, selling and commercial distribution of pot is still a federal crime.
If Marijuana is legalized, will this have cause to release many people from prison due to their use, sale of marijuana previous to this new law? Case in point;
In Louisiana 35-year-old Cornell Hood II received life in prison following his fourth marijuana conviction under a controversial repeat-offender law.
Hood was found guilty of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. He had been convicted of the same crime three prior times, each time receiving a suspended five-year sentence and five years of probation. However, when Hood’s probation officer made a routine visit to Hood’s home he found about two pounds of marijuana. Deputies were alerted and Hood arrested.
At trial he was convicted of possession with intent to distribute, which usually carries a maximum of 15 years in prison, but the Judge sentenced Hood to life in prison following arguments by the prosecutor that his repeat history deemed Hood a career criminal.
In Louisiana drug offenders may be subject to life in prison after being convicted of any three or more drug charges which could carry a sentence of at least 10 years.
- More on the Frank/Paul Marijuana Legalization Bill (reason.com)
- End of Sweeping Federal Marijuana Prohibition Seen with New Law (socyberty.com)