My first foray into "Three Things". Given the fondness I know some have for the topic, I wonder if there will even be a debate...
Legislators aim to snuff out penalties for pot use
The U.S. should stop arresting responsible marijuana users, Rep. Barney Frank said, announcing a proposal to end federal penalties for Americans carrying fewer than 100 grams, almost a quarter-pound, of the substance.
Current laws targeting marijuana users place undue burdens on law enforcement resources, punish ill Americans whose doctors have prescribed the substance and unfairly affect African-Americans, said Frank, flanked by legislators and representatives from advocacy groups.
House Resolution 5843, titled the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008, would express support for "a very small number of individuals" suffering from chronic pain or illness to smoke marijuana with impunity.
If HR 5843 were passed, the House would support marijuana smokers possessing up to 100 grams -- about 3½ ounces -- of cannabis without being arrested. It would also give its blessing to the "nonprofit transfer" of up to an ounce of marijuana.
The resolution would not address laws forbidding growing, importing or exporting marijuana, or selling it for profit. The resolution also would not speak to state laws regarding marijuana use.
(the article wanders into other marijuana legalization issues but those are not effected by this bill)
Summary of HR 5843 from Franks office: http://www.house.gov/frank/hr5843summary.html
Text of bill: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.5843:
__________________________________________________ _______________Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no penalty may be imposed under an Act of Congress for the possession of marijuana for personal use, or for the not-for-profit transfer between adults of marijuana for personal use. For the purposes of this section, possession of 100 grams or less of marijuana shall be presumed to be for personal use, as shall the not-for-profit transfer of one ounce or less of marijuana, except that the civil penalty provided in section 405 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 844a) may be imposed for the public use of marijuana if the amount of the penalty does not exceed $100.
The intention of the bill is to only effect the states that already allow medical marijuana use. While states allow the use, it is illegal at a federal level and some are arrested on that basis. Putting this into law at the federal level woud eliminate that. The states are: California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon.
My personal thoughts aside, questions come up:
- With Federal legalization, will other states follow re-think and allow medical use?
- Is there a loophole in there? Wording says "personal use" without mention of medical.
- Is this the first round of legalization of all marijuana use?
- Dose it make sense to leave it illegal to grow or import?
- If you can't get it for free and pay for it, will you still get arrested?
- Are those pesky anti-cigarette people going to jump on this too?
- Is this just a "feel good" ploy by a politician with no chance of passage?