Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) has introduced a bill to congress that aims to legalize posession of up to 3.5 ounces of marijuana at the federal level. The “Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2009” would also legalize the not-for-profit transfer of 1 ounce or less of marijuana. This is a major achievement for marijuana activists but what does it mean for the marijuana industry or the average consumer?
What you should know
It’s important to note that less than 1% of marijuana arrests happen under federal laws. Federal cases usually involve large distribution operations or medical marijuana businesses that operate legally under state laws. If the bill passes, the average consumer caught with marijuana anywhere it’s currently illegal could still be arrested under state or local laws.
With President Obama recently making jokes of the issue, it’s unclear if congress will give this bill the respect it deserves. Missouri residents were recently let down after a popular medical marijuana bill was introduced, only to die without a single hearing or word from anybody. Even with support for marijuana legalization growing, it remains a sensitive subject for politicians whose voter base is usually split on the issue. It is much easier for politicians to avoid the subject completely, than risk disappointing a large portion of their political base.
Why this bill is important
It’s important that a honest and factual debate takes place in congress, even if the bill ultimately fails along its long journey to becoming a law. The facts behind marijuana are clouded behind propaganda, spin and out right lies. With enough word of mouth and media coverage, this bill could help restore marijuana’s public image which has been tarnished from decades of “reefer madness“.
Federal marijuana laws are the major road block for states and cities that wish to ease their own marijuana laws. Many local governments are feeling pressure from upset citizens to stop wasting resources on criminalizing marijuana. The City of Garden Grove, California recently spent a quarter million dollars in a failed effort to prosecute a $200 medical marijuana bust. A common sense drug policy at the federal level would spark a dramatic change in local policies.
How you can help
1) Use the internet or public library to educate yourself and others about the facts of marijuana as well as the issues driving marijuana legalization. Many people support marijuana legalization without knowing facts that are crucial to helping clear up untrue myths about marijuana.
2) Tell your local representative that you support the “Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2009”. You can use an online form or simply mail a letter or make a phone call. This simple task helps insure the pro-marijuana movement is heard in government and will make it harder for politicians to continue ignoring the issue.
Lead photo by: zappowbang