Barney Frank Introduces Bold Reform of Federal Marijuana Laws
April 17, 2008
(Washington, D.C.) Officials of the Marijuana Policy Project praised the “Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008,” introduced today by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), as an important step toward bringing federal law into line with scientific fact, practical reality and public opinion.
“Congressman Frank’s bill represents a major step toward sanity in federal marijuana policy,” said MPP director of government relations Aaron Houston. “The decades-long federal war on marijuana protects no one and in fact has ruined countless lives. Most Americans do not believe that simple possession of a small amount of marijuana should be a criminal matter, and it’s time Congress listened to the voters.”
Frank’s bill would remove federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana and the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce (28.3 grams) of marijuana. It would not change marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, and would not change federal laws prohibiting the cultivation of marijuana, sale of marijuana for profit, or import or export of marijuana. It also would not affect any state or local marijuana laws or regulations.
An October 2005 Gallup poll found that 55 percent of voters believe “possession of small amounts of marijuana … should not be treated as a criminal offense,” while only 43 percent believed marijuana possession should be a criminal matter. Eleven states treat possession of a small amount of marijuana as a relatively minor offense – often a civil infraction rather than a criminal offense – that generally does not involve arrest and jail. In Alaska, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana in the home is legal, protected by the right to privacy guaranteed by the state constitution.
“In fact, federal prosecution of individuals for possession of a small amount of marijuana is extremely rare,” said Houston. “Congressman Frank’s bill would bring federal law into line with this reality, as well as with the undisputable scientific fact that marijuana is far safer than legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol.”
With more than 23,000 members and 180,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.
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