Friday, April 18, 2008

Sane Idea for Mary Jane

In the spirit of the upcoming 4/20 holiday, members of Congress are actually attempting to do something progressively productive.

Congressman Barney Frank today introduced bi-partisan legislation aimed at removing federal restrictions on the individual use of marijuana.

One bill would remove federal penalties for the personal use of marijuana, and the other – versions of which Frank has filed in several preceding sessions of Congress – would allow the medical use of marijuana in states that have chosen to make its use for medical purposes legal with a doctor’s recommendation.

It is dumbfounding the amount of money our government wastes on prosecuting marijuana possessions and crimes. Even more deplorable is the federal government's intrusion into the doctor/patient relationship by outlawing their ability to prescribe marijuana to relieve the pain of cancer patients.

Somehow a doctor is allowed to provide addicting drugs like Oxycontin, which ruins countless of lives, but not THC, which causes people to load up on Doritos. What kind of society do we live where this is the case?

Major themes of the Republican party used to be for advocating state's rights and limited government. The incredulous power grab of the Bush administration over the past 7 years and the complete alienation shown their once mighty libertarian base illustrates that this is no longer the case.

(The GOP professed itself to be the party of fiscal discipline and ethical leadership but the near doubling of our national debt and the high number of corrupt scandals under recent Republican rule proves that this is a hollow farce as well.)

Rep. Frank hits it out of the park with his refreshing perspective on the federal government's role in regulating Mary Jane.

"When doctors recommend the use of marijuana for their patients and states are willing to permit it, I think it’s wrong for the federal government to subject either the doctors or the patients to criminal prosecution. More broadly speaking, the norm in America is for the states to decide whether particular behaviors should be made criminal.

To make the smoking of marijuana, whether for medical purposes or not, one of those extremely rare instances of federal crime – literally, to make a ‘federal case’ out of it – is wholly disproportionate to the activity involved.

We do not have federal criminal prohibitions against drinking alcoholic beverages, and there are generally no criminal penalties for the use of tobacco at the state and federal levels for adults. There is no rational argument for treating marijuana so differently from these other substances.”

I could go on and on about the failed policies of the War on Drugs.

I highly recommend checking out this fascinating Rolling Stone article from last year, which describes the US government's sham approach in great detail from Pablo Escobar to the rise of Meth and the drug cartels of Tijuana. Print it out and read it from beginning to end. I plan on posting about the article at some point.

This decriminalization bill will probably have a tough time because all of the out of touch members of Congress who love to incorrectly demonize mary jane as some gateway drug or lump it in with hard narcotics then spout the "we have to protect the kids" crapola.

Even the dumbest person understands that hitting a joint does not make you want to shoot up heroin or snort crank. The government's own study concluded that the "gateway theory" had no scientific merit.

A 32 year friend of mine with a good job, a wife, and kids summed it up best to me about the arcane laws against marijuana.

"After a long work of week, I enjoy smoking weed in the privacy of my own home to alleviate stress. Why does the government make me and others like myself out to be criminals?"


Update: When toking up this weekend to celebrate 4/20, be sure to acknowledge the sponsors of this potential ground breaking legislation and the possibility of sparking a sane political discussion on revising our drug laws.

Barney Frank D-MA), Ron Paul (R-TX), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Sam Farr (D-CA).


Rolling Stone Article on How America Lost the War on Drugs.

Civil Libertarians Fed Up With Bush Administration

Mac Gs World


Matt Fairchild ( said...

Amen brother, a-fing-men.

Johnny Utah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Johnny Utah said...

right on. it is ridiculous, the cost, the waste, the misinformation and misplaced fear.

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