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APNewsBreak: Effort building to change US pot laws

Posted by on Feb. 4, 2013 at 3:37 PM
  • 14 Replies


SEATTLE (AP) — An effort is building in Congress to change U.S. marijuana laws, including moves to legalize the industrial production of hemp and establish a federal pot tax.

While passage this year could be a longshot, lawmakers from both parties have been quietly working on several bills, the first of which Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Jared Polis of Colorado plan to introduce Tuesday, Blumenauer told The Associated Press.

Polis' measure would regulate marijuana the way the federal government handles alcohol: In states that legalize pot, growers would have to obtain a federal permit. Oversight of marijuana would be removed from the Drug Enforcement Administration and given to the newly renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms, and it would remain illegal to bring marijuana from a state where it's legal to one where it isn't.

The bill is based on a legalization measure previously pushed by former Reps. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Ron Paul of Texas.

Blumenauer's bill would create a federal marijuana excise tax.

Last fall's votes in Colorado and Washington state to legalize recreational marijuana should push Congress to end the 75-year federal pot prohibition, Blumenauer said.

"You folks in Washington and my friends in Colorado really upset the apple cart," Blumenauer said. "We're still arresting two-thirds of a million people for use of a substance that a majority feel should be legal. ... It's past time for us to step in and try to sort this stuff out."

Advocates who are working with the lawmakers acknowledge it could take years for any changes to get through Congress, but they're encouraged by recent developments. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last week came out in support of efforts to legalize hemp in his home state of Kentucky, and U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., is expected to introduce legislation allowing states to set their own policy on marijuana.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has indicated he plans to hold a hearing on the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws and has urged an end to federal "mandatory minimum" sentences that lead to long prison stints for drug crimes.

"We're seeing enormous political momentum to undo the drug war failings of the past 40 years," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, who has been working with lawmakers on marijuana-related bills. "For the first time, the wind is behind our back."

The Justice Department hasn't said how it plans to respond to the votes in Washington and Colorado. It could sue to block the states from issuing licenses to marijuana growers, processors and retail stores, on the grounds that doing so would conflict with federal drug law.

Blumenauer and Polis are due to release a paper this week urging Congress to make a number of changes, including altering tax codes to let marijuana dispensaries deduct business expenses on federal taxes, and making it easier for marijuana-related businesses to get bank accounts. Many operate on a cash basis because federally insured banks won't work with them, they noted.

Blumenauer said he expects to introduce the tax-code legislation as well as a bill that would reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, allowing states to enact medical marijuana laws without fear that federal authorities will continue raiding dispensaries or prosecuting providers. It makes no sense that marijuana is a Schedule I drug, in the same category as heroin and a more restrictive category than cocaine, Blumenauer said.

The measures have little chance of passing, said Kevin Sabet, a former White House drug policy adviser. Sabet recently joined former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy and former President George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum in forming a group called Project SAM — for "smart approaches to marijuana" — to counter the growing legalization movement. Sabet noted that previous federal legalization measures have always failed.

"These are really extreme solutions to the marijuana problem we have in this country," Sabet said. "The marijuana problem we have is a problem of addiction among kids, and stigma of people who have a criminal record for marijuana crimes.

"There are a lot more people in Congress who think that marijuana should be illegal but treated as a public health problem, than think it should be legal."

Project SAM suggests people shouldn't get criminal records for small-time marijuana offenses, but instead could face probation or treatment.

LINK


H.R.H. Friday of MaryJane

by on Feb. 4, 2013 at 3:37 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Friday
by HRH of MJ on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Anyone?

 


Thank God......it's Friday!!!

Euphoric
by Bazinga! on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:34 PM

 Interesting.

kameka
by Bronze Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:40 PM
I think it's a step in the right direction.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Aslen
by Silver Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:41 PM
2 moms liked this

HALLELUJAH!

FINALLY... a plant won't be illegal! (potentially)

Poppies aren't illegal, why hsould pot?

Do you know how MONEY this will save our government??

survivorinohio
by René on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:44 PM
2 moms liked this

Its only a matter of time Friday :)  It will happen.  It has too.  Prohibition has been a huge failure.

How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


jlo1313
by Silver Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:55 PM
1 mom liked this

 Finally they see the light at the end of the tunnel and  can finally get the heck out of the insurance business and go back to farming!!!

Friday
by HRH of MJ on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:59 PM


Quoting survivorinohio:

Its only a matter of time Friday :)  It will happen.  It has too.  Prohibition has been a huge failure.

I agree. I've seen a big change in attitudes in the years I've been on CM.

Change is coming.

 


Thank God......it's Friday!!!

survivorinohio
by René on Feb. 5, 2013 at 5:33 PM


Quoting Friday:


Quoting survivorinohio:

Its only a matter of time Friday :)  It will happen.  It has too.  Prohibition has been a huge failure.

I agree. I've seen a big change in attitudes in the years I've been on CM.

Change is coming.

I cant help but think that older mj users like us who present as intelligent and in touch  has played a part in that.

How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


Friday
by HRH of MJ on Feb. 5, 2013 at 6:26 PM


Quoting survivorinohio:


Quoting Friday:


Quoting survivorinohio:

Its only a matter of time Friday :)  It will happen.  It has too.  Prohibition has been a huge failure.

I agree. I've seen a big change in attitudes in the years I've been on CM.

Change is coming.

I cant help but think that older mj users like us who present as intelligent and in touch  has played a part in that.

I like to think we've helped. I know I've changed some minds right here on CM. We don't come across as losers or space cases like some envision stoners.

 


Thank God......it's Friday!!!

pvtjokerus
by Platinum Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Yipppeeeeee!  More drugs on the streets!  More kids getting high!!! 

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