For the first time in 73 years, lawmakers have introduced legislation in congress (HR 2306) to end the federal criminalization of the personal use of marijuana. This legislation, The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, is a real opportunity to change our marijuana policy on a national level.
In order to move this bill forward it has to be scheduled for a hearing before either the House Judiciary Committee or the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has publicly stated that he would not even consider giving the bill a hearing. The Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), does not have a definitive stance on HR 2306. It is time to discuss the facts and have an open, honest conversation about the devastating consequences of marijuana prohibition.
Over the past 70+ years, the federal criminalization of marijuana has:
1) Failed to reduce the public’s demand for or access to cannabis.
2) Imposed enormous fiscal and human costs upon the American people.
3) Promoted disrespect for the law.
4) Reinforced ethnic and generational divides between the public and law enforcement.
This debate is long overdue. Contact Representatives Smith and Upton today and ask them to schedule a hearing for HR 2306.
The federal criminalization of marijuana has failed to reduce the public’s demand or access to cannabis, and it has imposed enormous fiscal and human costs upon the American people. Over 20 million Americans have been arrested since marijuana was made illegal in 1937. Further, 90% of all arrests are for possession only. This destructive policy has cost people their homes, jobs, education, families and futures. As you know, several states have already enacted policies to remove certain penalties for marijuana violations. To date, none of these states have reversed their laws and returned to full prohibition.
As the Chairmen of your respective committees, you can appreciate the value of reason, justice and states' rights. It is time to provide state governments the freedom to enact alternative strategies to marijuana prohibition without running afoul of the federal law. I urge you to schedule a hearing for HR 2306 so that there can be an open, honest conversation about our federal marijuana laws and the restrictive power it holds over states.