… but what it can do is get out of the way and let the states experiment if they choose.
But the entire federal government with its President and all his federal agencies and armed forces, along with the entire House of Representatives and Senate, even if they all worked together for the first time in history to use all the power at their command… they could not legalize marijuana.
And yet, I continue to hear people call HR 2306 (Barney Frank’s bill: the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011) a bill that would legalize marijuana. Even people in Congress. (After the jump I’ve included the rather convoluted letter I got from my Representative Adam Kinzinger.)
So people like my Representative say they’re opposed to HR 2306 because they oppose legalization. But that’s not true, since HR 2306 cannot, by itself, legalize marijuana.
What these people actually oppose is the ability of free citizens in other places to use their Constitutional power to have their state government reflect their interests.
I wrote a letter to my Congressmen (You can read it here) supporting HR 2306. In the letter, I specifically noted that HR 2306 does not legalize marijuana.
The first letter I’ve gotten back was from small-government Republican Adam Kinzinger.
I’m not sure why he felt the need to address HR 2943 or Prop 19…
Note the bizarre dance he does around the Commerce Clause and the Controlled Substances Act in the fourth paragraph (he almost seems unaware that he wants it both ways at once).
Thank you for taking the time to contact me to share your views on the legalization of marijuana. By hearing your thoughts and concerns on the issues, I am better able to represent you in Congress.
On June 18, 2009, Congressman Barney Frank (MA) introduced the
Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2009 (H.R. 2943) to prohibit the imposition of any penalty under an Act of Congress for the possession of marijuana for personal use as well as the transfer of marijuana between adults so long as the transfer is not for profit. Under H.R. 2943, possession of 100 grams or less of marijuana would be deemed as personal use. This bill did not reach the House floor for a vote in the 111th Congress.
Congressman Frank introduced similar legislation, the Ending
Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011 (H.R. 2306), on June 23, 2011 to limit the application of federal laws to the distribution and consumption of marijuana and permit states to develop their own regulations of marijuana. This bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee where it awaits further review.
Currently, a number of states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Most recently, in November 2010, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 (Proposition 19) to legalize the personal use and possession of marijuana was put on the California statewide ballot. California voters, however, rejected this measure. If Proposition 19 had passed, the sale of marijuana would have remained illegal under the Controlled Substances Act and Congress would still have had the power to regulate and criminalize intrastate cannabis production under the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution. As your representative, I understand and welcome reasonable, civil debate on this serious issue. However, I do not support the legalization of marijuana.
To function as the founders intended, our republic requires the active participation of informed voters. As your elected representative, I respect and value your feedback on the legalization of marijuana regardless of whether we agree or disagree. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as my colleagues and I consider H.R. 2306 and similar marijuana-related legislation in the 112th Congress.
Update: I feel that I need to clarify the post – this is a bit of a rant about federal Congressional Representatives opposing HR 2306 because they’re opposed to legalization. And passing HR 2306 wouldn’t, by itself, legalize. The states would still have all their laws.
I’m not saying that it’s pointless for the federal government to eliminate their prohibition; on the contrary, it’s essential for that to happen in order for states to legalize without fear of federal interference.
Yes, I supposed there are ways that the federal government could force the states to legalize marijuana, so my hyperbole was a bit over the top, but that wasn’t the real point I was making.
The point still stands that HR 2306 does not legalize marijuana (but is important toward legalizing marijuana).