Congressional “odd couple” team up to legalize marijuana

Keep the Feds out of the Marijuana Fields

Curious pair of lawmakers join forces to end government involvement in marijuana regulation

The first significant instance of marijuana regulation appeared in the District of Columbia in 1906, though this law was not an outright prohibition. Regulation of cannabis followed in Massachusetts (1911), New York (1914), and Maine (1914). Simultaneously tensions were building in the western and southwestern states regarding the influx of Mexicans to America. Many Mexicans also smoked marijuana to relax after working in the fields. Later in that decade negative tensions grew between the small farms and the large farms that used cheaper Mexican labor. Shortly afterwards the Great Depression came which increased tensions as jobs and resources became more scarce. In 1913 California passed the first state marijuana prohibition law, criminalizing the preparation of hemp and its products, the phrase “Indian Hemp” (Cannabis indica) is sometimes used or “loco weed”. Other states followed with marijuana prohibition laws including: Wyoming (1915); Texas (1919); Iowa (1923); Nevada (1923); Oregon (1923); Washington (1923); Arkansas (1923); and Nebraska (1927).

end federal intervention in marijuana law enforcement

All of the federal marijuana legislation may soon be “history” as Ron Paul and Barney Frank—surely Congress’ version of the Odd Couple—are set to introduce a bill today that would end once and for all the federal prohibition on marijuana, allowing states to legalize, tax, and regulate the drug. The bill would also “reprioritize federal resources” away from enforcing drug laws and fighting drug smuggling.  The so-called War on Drugs has been an absolute disaster from both the enforcement and regulation end of the spectrum and nothing could serve this country more, and save billions and billions of dollars if this wasteful practice were finally ended.

According to Politico it’s the first time such legislation has ever been introduced in Congress, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. They’re touting the bill as “bipartisan legislation,” though Paul is the only Republican cosponsor—four other Democrats are onboard. The group doesn’t expect it to pass, but “it’s definitely going to get a serious debate,” a spokesman tells Reason, though “probably more in the media than on the floor of the House.”

What are your thoughts on this most controversial subject?  Would you like to see marijuana regulation/enforcement left to the states?

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Posted by on June 23, 2011. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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7 Responses to Congressional “odd couple” team up to legalize marijuana

  1. dp1053

    June 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    About freakin’ time. Maybe let some of the pot-heads out of prison and make room for real criminals.

    • A Michael J. Scott

      June 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      The whole marijuana prohibition is a joke Deb, one with expensive and tragic consequences.

  2. lazersedge

    June 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    If the feds and states who legalize and tax marijuana there would be roughly a 65 billion dollar immediate turnaround in costs. That is considering that they continued to fight the war on drugs against all other currently illegal drugs. Marijuana is the largest source of income for the Mexican drug cartels and would have an instant impact on them.It would not substantially impact the cost of imprisonment because almost all prisons are overcrowded, but it would make the prisons more manageable. It would allow most states and local agencies to reduce the size of their narco efforts and return more officers to the preventive efforts of law enforcement. It certainly makes more sense to the economy since it would actually build a new legal economy of cultivating, harvesting, and distributing marijuana as well the additional tax revenue. While their would be the equivalent to marijuana “moonshiners” most people would eventually shy away from that be cause of lack of control.
    The biggest gain would be those who would use it for medicinal purposes.

    • A Michael J. Scott

      June 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm

      The war on drugs is an unmitigated disaster, almost farcical. Good comments Bill and I agree.

  3. russ

    June 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Marijuana prohibition is absurd. Locking up pot-smokers is the dumbest thing in the world. Let police work on real crimes. Let people be free to do what they want to do in their own homes without harming other people. ALcohol is legal and it is light years more harmful that marijuana.

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