U.S. Officials Propose Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana Nationwide

“Criminally prosecuting adults for making the choice to smoke marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources and an intrusion on personal freedom,” said Democratic Congressman Barney Frank.

U.S. lawmakers recently introduced a new bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Los Angeles and in every other U.S. city. The bill states that each state would have the ability to regulate, tax and control the drug itself. The bill is the first attempt to legalize production and consumption of marijuana nationwide, according to Reuters.
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Our Orange Country medical marijuana attorneys understand that this new law could prove helpful as more than a dozen states now have medical marijuana laws on the books. It’s time for the federal government to step back from this industry and stop trying to strike down state laws. With one set of laws in a state, medical marijuana production and consumption may finally be able to function properly, effectively and legally.

“Since 1932, marijuana has been a federally-prohibited substance, and this would undo that,” says Sam Kamin, a law professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law.

Currently, there are sixteen states and the District of Colombia that have made the production and consumption of marijuana legal for medical purposes. Fourteen states have decriminalized small amounts for consumption.

“I don’t expect to pass it in this Congress,” added Frank. “But I think we’re making progress. This is an educational process.”

It is estimated that roughly 850,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana-related offenses in 2009 alone. Roughly 90 percent of these cases were for possession, according to the FBI.

“The drug war has not worked, clearly,” said Representative Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon, whose country is the main supplier of marijuana to the United States, recently stated that legalizing cannabis throughout the entire country would make it tougher for countries like Mexico to prosecute farmers for growing a product that is legal in their neighboring country, according to the Edmonton Journal.

“I would say to President Calderon that he does what he thinks is right in Mexico and I’ll do what I think is right in the United States,” said Frank, who said the bill would not allow the importation of the drug.

Earlier this year, a number of medical-marijuana dispensaries in California were raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration, despite being legal in their area and despite promises from the Obama administration claiming that it would lay off dispensaries that operate within the laws of their particular state.

“I do not advocate urging people to smoke marijuana, neither do I urge them to drink alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco, but in none of these cases do I think prohibition enforced by criminal sanctions is good public policy,” said Congressman Frank.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Southern California, including growers, dispensaries and collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Pot legalization effort unites odd couple in House, by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, Reutrers
New bill would see U.S. legalize pot: With little chance of passing, move seen as educational, Edmonton Journal
More Blog Entries:

Miss America Favors Medical Marijuana in California, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, June 26, 2011

Feds Fail at Linking Crime to Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Los Angeles and Elsewhere, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, June 20, 2011