Getting Sensible About Marijuana Laws

Getting Sensible About Marijuana Laws
Posted by CN Staff on April 28, 2008 at 05:43:59 PT
By Zach Townsend
Source: Rebel Yell
USA -- An act in the House of Representatives would decriminalize the possession of 30 grams of pot, with further restrictions under certain conditions, such as when the possessor is driving.The vast majority of marijuana imported in the U.S. comes from Mexican drug cartels that supply mostly to inner-city street gangs. The herb is then distributed to neighborhood dealers before it seeps out to the surrounding areas and the rest of the country.
For the first time in 24 years, a bill has been proposed in the House of Representatives that is the first step to breaking this supply chain of depravity. The "Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults" is sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul and Rep. Barney Frank.The zero tolerance policy for driving under the influence of marijuana will, of course, remain. If the bill passes, it will decriminalize pot only at the federal level. The states will be left to decide whether or not they want to legalize marijuana.This is the way the founding fathers intended it, when they wrote in the Constitution that any power not granted to the federal government is thus a power of the states. There is not a single mention of drugs in the Constitution.Stretching the Constitution to include commentary on drugs achieved disastrous results. In regards to marijuana offenders, there are more people incarcerated in the U.S. than all of the rest of the world's prisons combined.The amount of revenue spent on prisoners convicted of marijuana crimes is astronomical. From the police spending hours on tedious paperwork, to the prosecutor, the judge and the prison guards working to put these people away, an insane amount of our tax dollars go up in smoke. Not to mention, poor and minority populations suffer a disproportionate amount of convictions, even when the higher usage rates in those groups are taken in to account.Minorities and the poor are not the only ones unfairly affected by the marijuana laws. If a student is caught possessing pot, he or she is no longer eligible for financial aid from the government. Stripping students of their financial aid for possessing marijuana is terrible.What better method than education is there to encourage good decision-making and to help people understand the harmful effects of their actions?Prohibiting cultivation also has harmful consequences. It is illegal to grow hemp in the U.S., even if the plant doesn't have the active ingredient of the drug, tetrahydrocannabinol. There are many more uses for hemp besides smoking it, such as clothes, rope and body creams, just to name a few. There is even a hemp body shop that carries products exclusively made from hemp.Though it is illegal to grow hemp in the U.S., it is not illegal to import products made from hemp. This is clearly an inconsistency. Countries around the world, from Canada to Great Britain are filling the niche of this growing market while the U.S. stands down. The U.S., however, is increasingly sending more money overseas to pay for these imports.We should not discount American farmers. Hemp is also easier to grow in arid climate and is less water-intensive than most crops, such as corn. In a time of economic slowing, disenfranchising the U.S. from this rapidly growing market is insensible.An undeniable argument put forth by opponents of decriminalization is marijuana being a cancer causer. It is true that pot has known carcinogens and smoking anything is harmful to your lungs. However, research from the University of California, San Francisco shows that the carcinogenic effect is virtually eliminated when a smokeless method known as vaporizing is used.Over the weekend I spoke with Rep. Shelly Berkley at a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Berkley represents the greater Las Vegas area in the U.S. House of Representatives. I asked for her opinion on the bill proposed by her colleagues. She immediately replied, "I've always favored decriminalization."She went on to explain that unless "Ron Paul convinced some of his fellow Republicans," the bill will surely die before it reaches the floor of the House.Let us not be discouraged by the opponents of this measure. If nothing less, a proposal like this forces people to open their eyes to the failure of the status quo. The benefits of this idea cannot be ignored for much longer.There is one outcome of this bill passing that is more beneficial than all others combined. Think back to when you were a teenager. How hard was it for you to get a hold of marijuana? How hard was it for you to get a hold of alcohol? The truth of the matter is that it's easier for kids to buy pot than it is for them to buy beer.The reason for this is simple: drug dealers don't card. This bill is the first step to setting up a legal distribution system of marijuana. If marijuana was allowed to enter the free market, the criminal market would be unable to compete.It is proven that the most harmful effects of this drug are on developing minds. 86 percent of high school seniors admitted to the federal government that marijuana is easy to obtain. It's high time we lower that figure. Note: Decriminalizing, regulating cannabis would eliminate black market as well as alleviate misuse of tax dollars.Source: Rebel Yell (Las Vegas, NV Edu)Author: Zach TownsendPublished: April 28, 2008Copyright: 2008 Rebel YellWebsite: Articles:Two Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced in House Frank Wants To Legalize Pot Frank: My Pot Bill Lives 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 28, 2008 at 12:12:30 PT
I believe hope is vital to our survival. If we don't have hope why bother waking up in the morning? I feel bad for people who just hate everything but miss the good that comes along because of tangling themselves up in a wasteful emotion. I really appreciate what Barney Frank has done for us. It's definitely a step forward.
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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on April 28, 2008 at 11:54:43 PT
I love this bill
I'm a realist but also an optimist. Can we have the "audacity of hope".Thanks again Senator Barney Frank for bolstering our sense of hope.One day a historic bill like this will pass and the change will be at once monumental and virtually imperceptible.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 28, 2008 at 10:57:56 PT
It's nice to see you. I took this excerpt from the article I posted below.Excerpt: The other bill, the Act to Remove Federal Penalties for the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults (HR 5843) would eliminate federal penalties for the possession of small amounts (up to 100 grams) or not-for-profit transfer of small amounts (up to one ounce, 28.3 grams) of marijuana. It would create a civil penalty of $100 for the public use of marijuana. Two Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced in House
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Comment #2 posted by thestales on April 28, 2008 at 10:53:44 PT
100 grams?
only in Ohio. I think this is just for one ounce.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 28, 2008 at 07:57:51 PT
30 Grams?
Isn't it under 100 Grams?
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