New bill ending federal ban on marijuana to be introduced in Congress
Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) will introduce legislation on Thursday to the U.S. House of Representatives that ends the federal prohibition on marijuana.
The Oakland Tribute reported that the bill would limit the federal government to enforcing cross-border or inter-state smuggling laws, and allow people to grow, possess, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal to do so.
Although over a dozen states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical reasons, it is still outlawed under the federal Controlled Substance Act.
The legislation authored by Frank and Paul would allow each state to propose and enforce its own marijuana laws without federal interference.
Democratic Reps. John Conyers (MI), Steve Cohen (TN), Jared Polis (CO) and Barbara Lee (CA) are co-sponsors of the bill.
"The human cost of the failed drug war has been enormous -- egregious racial disparities, shattered families, poverty, public health crises, prohibition-related violence, and the erosion of civil liberties," Lee said Wednesday. "And of course the cost in dollars and cents has been staggering as well -- over a trillion dollars spent to incarcerate tens of millions of young people."
"I co-sponsored this bipartisan legislation because I believe it is time to turn the page from this failed drug war."
Rep. Cohen, another co-sponsor, called last week for an end to the 40-year war on drugs, which he said had spent trillions of dollars to incarcerate millions of people for non-violent crimes.