Bill to be introduced in Congress ending federal marijuana prohibition

Via press release from the Drug Policy Alliance

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will introduce bi-partisan legislation tomorrow, June 23, ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states legalize, regulate, tax, and control marijuana without federal interference. Other co-sponsors include Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). 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. The legislation is the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.

Leading critics of the war on marijuana will explain its significance for state and national marijuana policy at a national tele-press conference on Thursday.

Sounds like the bill is attempting to do what the Constitution theoretically already did: limit the federal role to the regulation of interstate commerce.

There are a number of GOP candidates who are talking about getting the federal government out of state roles (education, etc.). Wonder how quick they’ll be to support this (other than Paul and Johnson, of course).

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34 Responses to Bill to be introduced in Congress ending federal marijuana prohibition

  1. Duncan20903 says:

    “Leading critics of the personal autonomy and freedom will explain its purpose is really to turn children into sex slaves in a national tele-press conference on Thursday to counter the legalizers’ lies.”

  2. tintguy says:

    Too stunned to comment at this time :O

    • StonerGirl says:

      Hahahahaha. I thought that said “Too stoned to commend this time.”

      Me too man!!! ME TOO!! Bahahahahahaha.(;

  3. snowstorm in Hades says:

    Does the 10th amendment still exist?

  4. DdC says:

    Another band aid? Raich already established what this will attempt to do. Keep it as Commerce. The Supremes never said anything different. The Feds don’t bust individuals or less than 99 plant grow ops. The only deterrent to the states busting people was that the Feds claimed jurisdiction. Now will it be up to the states? Dry and Wet states like some counties do with booze? If its legal in all states then what is interstate about it? Won’t stop the Cartel’s. So will this change the status of Hemp? No. Will it keep people out of prison? No, just put them in state prisons instead of Feds. This does nothing to remove the lies placing Ganja and Hemp as schedule#1 narcotics. It does nothing about the white powders still putting people in cages. Its another bill that will probably die and if not, won’t change much for the better. Buyers clubs are still outlawed in state initiatives. As long as states can persecute people, they will. You still can not tax nature, so much for that. When the DEAth lowers the classification of THC to a schedule#3. Ganja and Hemp will remain schedule#1 narcotics. Using Sativex/Bayer sublingual sprays keeping buds, growers and apothecaries illegal. I’d hate to think what I’d think if I wasn’t so optimistic. Go Barney!

    Reps. Frank, Polis Urge DOJ to Leave Medical Marijuana to States
    Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) are urging the Obama administration this week to reiterate earlier vows to leave the enforcement of medical marijuana laws up to states. full story

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      Re: “The Feds don’t bust individuals or less than 99 plant grow ops,” see Mollie Fry and Dale Schafer.

      • DdC says:

        Read on… The Feds don’t allocate for small operations. Tommy Chong may be the only exception, but that was Ashcroft and the Justice Depo, not the DEA. As with Dr Fry the bust was most assuredly political and more than one patient would require as Prop 215 states. Since it’s all political I’m sure if the Feds wanted your ass they could find a way to get it. But this would make it moot giving the states without initiatives carte blanche. Good or bad, only time will tell if it passes. The only Constitutionally acceptable terms would be to remove Ganja and Hemp as a schedule#1 narcotic.

        Why did federal prosecutors add up plant counts from three years of cultivation to push the total over 100? Why were they so bent on making Mollie Fry and Dale Schafer face mandatory-minimum sentences? Why were Mollie and Dale a much more important target than Maggy, the freed informer, who had grown 900 plants and had numerous other offenses on his record?

        Because unlike Maggy, Mollie and Dale were political organizers.

        Note. Compassionate Use Act not the MMJ Act

        Cannabis Yields and Dosage (Part 1)
        How many are too many? It depends. Since a few large cannabis plants can out-produce hundreds of small ones, the number of plants in a garden cannot accurately predict yield. Canopy indicates a garden’s likely yield without counting plants, knowing if they are seedlings or clones, etc. A 99-plant cap fits below the federal five year mandatory sentence and ensures that state jurisdiction applies.


        As for federal law, Dale was relying on a 1999 ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the U.S. v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers Co-op case that made “medical necessity” a possible defense for marijuana distribution. Dale says he told the deputies who inspected his grow in 2000 and again in 2001 that any surplus would go patients, and they told him that as long as the plant total was below 100, the feds would not take notice.

        It wasn’t until June 22, 2005 -two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Raich case that an individual’s right to use marijuana as medicine under California law was superseded by the federal prohibition – that Fry and Schafer were indicted. The charge was conspiracy to grow ( “manufacture” ) and distribute marijuana between August ’99 and September ’01. Because they had grown more than 100 plants in this period, they were facing five-year mandatory minimums. Dale says he was completely blindsided by the feds basing their charges on a cumulative three-year total.

        FIVE YEARS FOR WHAT CRIME? by Fred Gardner
        Marian “Mollie” Fry, MD, and her husband Dale Schafer, an attorney, turned themselves to U.S. marshals Monday, May 2. They were taken to the Sacramento County jail, where they are awaiting transfer to federal prisons. They have begun serving five-year terms -ostensibly for the crime of Cannabis cultivation ( growing plants ), but actually for the crime of political organizing ( educating people ). [url=]full story[/url]

        They were growing 20 plants on their property when two El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies paid a visit. The next day, Dale says,

        he only thing DeAlba advised doing differently, Dale says, was “stay the hell away from Tod. He said that Tod is targeted, and that Tod is a problem. We ignored that, of course, because we liked and respected Tod.”

        They were taken to the Sacramento County jail, where they are awaiting transfer to federal prisons. They have begun serving five-year terms -ostensibly for the crime of Cannabis cultivation ( growing plants ), but actually for the crime of political organizing ( educating people ).

      • Matthew Meyer says:

        Of course they don’t try to bust everybody. Just scare the ones who demand their rights and try to change things. And the fact that they added up their plants over multiple years to reach the 100-plant threshold is positively scandalous.

  5. Ben says:

    If something like this passed this year, half a dozen states would legalize in 2012. The biggest argument against legalization seems to be “But federal law prohibits it, we would have a legal quagmire.”

  6. kant says:


    I doubt it. I think the whole “but Federal law prohibits it” excuse is just that, an excuse. If that changed they’d find some other excuse. Just like the congress/ondcp claiming cannabis should be illegal because the FDA hasn’t approved of it, despite the fact that the FDA can review it if someone doesn’t try to study it; which they can’t because of a law passed by congress. It’s simply a convenient way to pass the buck.

    @Ddc I disagree. I don’t think anyone expects this to pass but I don’t think that’s the point. The point is symbolic. It will stir conversation. Historically speaking we do better the more people talk about it.

    IF it did pass, I think it would be a game changer. No it won’t fix everything but then again even if you removed cannabis/hemp completely from the CSA we’d still have the problems you pointed out.

    • DdC says:

      Kant, I agree that this bill is symbolic and that it more than probably won’t pass. As far as a game changer goes. Nothing is going to remove the profits of the Ganjawar except the truth and that, under any semblance of Justice, is enough to remove it as a schedule#1 narcotic. The fact that it has lasted 40 years tells me there is no semblance of Justice concerning the drug war. Like with Dr Fry, the states were completely in cahoots with the Feds. After 215 the state showed exactly what they would do. Kill Peter McWilliams and bust anyone anywhere at anytime. Since Boosh junior and Obombo the Feds were kept at Bay and now have no grip over individuals. Or manpower to do it. They might still go after the political prisoners but most individuals are protected as it is under 215. The only ones the Feds are busting are profiteers in buyers clubs, not protected under 215. As for reality. Nixon lied and I’ve been toking 40 years legally. Illegal laws need dropped, not appeased and compromised on. Good Luck Barney. My opinion remains. As for the white powders not being legalized if Ganja and Hemp were removed as scheduled narcotics. Apples and Oranges. Anthrax wouldn’t be legal either. I believe it should all be sold in clinics and drug stores for the safest ingestion by the patients. Same precautions as the other drugs. White Powders aren’t illegal because they are competition to so many status quo non renewable. Ganja and Hemp are and until that is understood. Well I guess I’ll keep toking as a quasi outlaw. The patients I assist are more comfortable under 215, but no one individual feels threatened by the Feds. This is a states rights issue under the 10th Amendment but like Poll Tax and Nullifying Juries on lynch mob cases. The states aren’t the holy grail in liberty either.

      Al Capone and Watergate were red herrings to divert the countries attention from the Fascist acts of eliminating competition. Booze/Ethanol or Ganja//Hemp.

  7. vickyvampire says:

    I’m stunned too. I could Kiss and hug them two may God Bless them. Yes even if of course it probably won’t pass,but at least it is on radar still in USA. and will be for a long while. If it takes continual whining,begging cajoling,dancing Happily,legitimate groups on capitol Hills across America ad nausem will pound and be in your face until you FREE THE WEED.

  8. malcolm kyle says:

    This great documentary was mentioned earlier. Here’s the torrent for those not wishing to wait: Google: “Kensington Raw Opium 1of2 DVB x264 AC3-MVGroup”

  9. dt says:

    If the poll numbers reach above 50%, I bet this could actually happen. The last poll I saw had support for legalization in the mid 40s. Support for gay marriage just inched above 50%, and now the word is that Obama is going to drop the “civil union” stuff and just support gay marriage in 2012. He’ll probably get some good speeches out of it. Sooner or later, something similar will happen with weed.

    I wonder how long it will be until other drugs get legalized. There are a lot of hallucinogens whose prohibition is at least as unreasonable as cannabis prohibition, but there doesn’t seem to be much support for legalizing them. And what about the much needed sea change in the way society thinks about drugs?

  10. ezrydn says:

    Don’t get too jazzed and don’t go negative. We’ve been here before. Simply get vocal. Spread the word to the voters. That’s really just about all ”we” can do and we do that exceedingly well.

  11. vickyvampire says:

    Ok I’m reading the usual cool stories over at reason Magazine and this story catches my eye,Gun Owners of America Calls for dissolution of ATF. Posted by Mike Riggs.

    Now if I’m not mistaken, is it not conservatives who hammer on about the Authorities in Government keeping their hands off their Guns, regulating tobacco and occasionally whining about the Liquor Laws. They say that it,Gun control or pro-prohibition causes more crime and folks can not defend themselves. These same many not all clamor for not letting Marijuana Medical or other wise be legal can they not see the violence this pro-hibition causes also.

  12. Paul says:

    First thing I thought, was, “Now THERE’S a strange pair!” One is so Right and the other so Left they wrap around and meet on the other side.

    But on second thought it is not so strange. Frank, for all his faults, is pretty much what lefties are hoping to get when they vote for a democrat. He is true to his principles, even if people like myself don’t quite understand them, and he is a genuine social liberal.

    Paul is also true to his principles. He is not entirely what righties are hoping to get–he is not going to give them social conservatism. He is personally socially conservative, but he believes in liberty far more than pushing his own ideas on how you should live down other people’s throats.

    So, together they find they have common ground. This bill should separate the men from the boys when it comes to personal liberty. Take note of the vote and remember who are your true friends, and who are your true opponents. You may be surprised.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      I find it amusing that so many people who hear that Messrs Frank and Paul are teamed up sponsoring legislation which they both support find it so remarkable. I’ve got to admit that I found it stunning as well when I first heard of their collaborations in 1999. But after more than a decade, and if I’m not mistaken they’ve worked together on certain issues every year since.

      Ninety-Three Members of Congress Stand Up For Medical Marijuana
      September 17, 1998 – Washington, DC, USA

      Nearly one hundred members of Congress expressed their support for a seriously ill patient’s right to medical marijuana during a historic vote on the House floor Tuesday. The vote marked the first time in recent memory the House has deliberated over the issue of medical marijuana.” /snip/

      …”Representatives William Delahunt (D-Mass.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) led the charge against the resolution, sparking a heated, forty minute debate.

  13. David Marsh says:

    I will hold my comments till I can read a copy of the bill, I don’t have time tonight. Anyone remember where they were the day before the Berlin wall fell? November 9, 1989…. Could it be that easy….

    • Leonard Junior says:

      Considering that was 2 weeks after my first birthday, no, not really…

    • Fairuse says:

      Great analogy! Yep, I do remember where I was and I absulutely believe that major change does happen with the suddeness of an earth quake. Grinding and groaning for decades, five minutes of sheer terror and welcome to a new world.

    • malcolm kyle says:

      It was sometime in the evening. I was in my kitchen in The Hague. The radio was tuned to the BBC World Service. Within an hour, we had packed our camper van and were driving East. We picked up a few hitchhikers with the same idea, and reached Berlin very early the next morning.

      I’ve Just finished watching the first part of Raw Opium. Everything is in there including the CIA’s involvement. It’s really well made and will most definitely help in educating the public on this immense travesty.

  14. darkcycle says:

    HOLY CRAP! Bolivia just withdrew from the Single Convention! Thanks Ben!! Hellooooo??? anybody listening? Hey Allan…..that was more than a thud…that was “CRASH! BANG! CRUNCH! tinkle….”
    HOLY CRAP! Bolivia just withdrew from the Single Convention!

    This is the end of the single convenmtion, IMHO, look for other Latin American and European countries seeking exits, too.
    Malcolm, bro, this is the first hammer to strike that wall.
    O.K., I think it moved this time, everybody together, now PUSH!

    • malcolm kyle says:

      This is a public announcement: The trains now leaving “platform prohibition” ain’t ever coming back. ALL ABOARD!!!

  15. Mike says:

    I think this bill is great — if you support it, help move it forward by writing your rep today. It takes about ten seconds:

  16. noydb says:

    We have a real opportunity to make this happen if we strike while the iron is hot. All the recent drug war press and the general publics disgust with 40 years of failure gives this bill a chance to garner massive support. The timing is perfect. I feel that if we push real hard on our congress we can get this passed.

  17. Hope says:

    There won’t be any vote if Representative Lamar Smith, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee has his way. He’s about the only one it would do any good to write, that I can see. At this point… and it wouldn’t do any good to write him or email him.

  18. Hope says:

    or call him or talk to him.

    He’s hard core.

  19. palemalemarcher says:

    Rep. Smith is not accessible for E-mailing. It is unfortunate that Rep. Smith is not considering the revenue angle in regards to the frenzy to rein in the debt. Mr. Chairman of the Judiciary, why shouldn’t we levy taxes on multinational corporations?

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