WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With criticism of marijuana prohibition rising, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has introduced legislation to end federal criminal penalties for possession or not-for-profit transfer of small amounts of marijuana.
"Congressman Frank's bill represents a major step toward sanity in federal marijuana policy," said MPP director of government relations Aaron Houston. "Calls for rethinking our marijuana policies are coming from all quarters, and for good reason. Our decades-long war on marijuana has given us the worst of all possible worlds -- a drug that's widely used and universally available but produced and sold entirely by unregulated criminals who obey no rules and pay no taxes."
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 1 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.
As recently as 2005, no national opinion survey had ever found a level of support for making marijuana a legal, regulated product above 36 percent. This year, a succession of major surveys have found levels of support for "legalization" ranging from 40 percent (Rasmussen) to 46 percent (ABC News/Washington Post) and even as high as 52 percent (Zogby). A June 12 report from CQ Researcher noted that opposition to legally regulated marijuana "appears to be weakening."
With more than 27,000 members and 100,000 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.