Ron Paul, Barney Frank to jointly offer bill to end war on weed
Congressmen Ron Paul, Barney Frank and others will introduce legislature Thursday that aims to end a major part of the war on drugs -- namely the battle against marijuana.
Reps. Paul (R-Texas) and Frank (D-Mass.), though technically on opposite sides of the aisle, have often spoken out against the war on drugs and will propose a bill "tomorrow ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states legalize, regulate, tax, and control marijuana without federal interference," according to a statement from the Marijuana Policy Project via Reason.
The bill would allow the individual states to decide how they want to deal with pot. Currently the federal government bogarts U.S. law, oftentimes arresting owners and employees of medical marijuana facilities, for example, who thought they were operating legally under city, county and/or state laws.
"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 MPP statement.
The legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), is the first of its kind to be proposed in Congress that would end the 73-year-old federal marijuana prohibition that began with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
Although Frank insists that this "is not a legalization bill," it will be an excellent test for those in Congress who claim to be for a limited, smaller, federal government -- one that gives more power to the states whenever possible as Paul and the "tea party" have rallied for over the last few years.
If the bill somehow makes it through both houses of Congress, it would be interesting to see if President Obama would sign it, seeing as the president's feelings on the controversial matter have been hazy.
"We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws," Obama said in Feb. 2008. "But I'm not somebody who believes in legalization of marijuana. What I do believe is that we need to rethink how we're operating in the drug war. Currently, we're not doing a good job."
-- Tony Pierce
Photo: A Canadian soldier from the 6th Platoon, Bulldog Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Royal Regiment, walks through a field of marijuana plants during a patrol in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan. Credit:REUTERS/Baz Ratner