Today, a bill to eliminate all federal penalties for marijuana possession was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"The Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008," introduced by Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), would eliminate the threat of arrest and prison for the possession of up to 3.5 ounces of marijuana and/or the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce of marijuana. It would not affect federal laws prohibiting selling marijuana for profit, importing and exporting marijuana, or cultivating marijuana. It also would not affect any state or local laws and regulations.
Because almost all marijuana arrests are made by local and state police, the primary impact of this federal bill is twofold: First, it would offer protection to people who are apprehended with marijuana in federal buildings or on federal land (such as national parks); and, second, the bill sends a message to state governments that the federal government is now open to the notion of states reducing their marijuana penalties, too.
This historic legislation comes 36 years after the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse made a similar recommendation to President Richard Nixon, suggesting that he decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.
MPP has worked closely with Congressman Frank’s staff over the last year, helping to craft the legislation and build political support for the proposal on Capitol Hill.
Now that the bill has been introduced, members of Congress need to hear from their constituents who want to see it passed. It takes only a minute or two to use MPP’s online action system to send a quick note to your member of the House.
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