Mike Riggs reported at Reason magazine that GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul will join liberal Democrats to introduce legislation Thursday ending the federal “war on marijuana.”
Paul, along with Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), seeks to limit the federal government’s role to interstate or cross-border trafficking.
If the law passes, people would be able to legally grow, use or sell the drug in states where it is legal. According to Riggs, the bill is the first “ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.”
Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project told Riggs the bill will “definitely” get “a serious debate, probably more in the media than on the floor of the House.”
The bill currently only has one Republican supporter – Paul, who is currently running for President, and that alone is enough to ensure the bill gets media attention, according to Riggs, who also notes:
Previous Frank-Paul partnerships include a 2010 op-ed to reduce military spending and a marijuana decriminalization bill introduced in the House in 2009. In the intervening two years, Arizona and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana, and the Connecticut legislature has moved to decriminalize it. Now former U.S. Attorney John McKay and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes are organizing to completely legalize marijuana in Washington State. The time is ripe.
But this partnership with some of the most liberal Democrats in the House is not likely to sit well with many conservatives who ordinarily might agree with Paul on fiscal issues.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
Although Frank insists that this “is not a legalization bill,” it will be an excellent test for those in Congress who claim to be for a limited, smaller, federal government — one that gives more power to the states whenever possible as Paul and the “tea party” have rallied for over the last few years.
In other words, it is nothing more than a political trap – and Paul, who has favored the legalization of drugs for some time – is being used as a tool against his own party.
According to the Times:
If the bill somehow makes it through both houses of Congress, it would be interesting to see if President Obama would sign it, seeing as the president’s feelings on the controversial matter have been hazy.
“We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws,” Obama said in Feb. 2008. “But I’m not somebody who believes in legalization of marijuana. What I do believe is that we need to rethink how we’re operating in the drug war. Currently, we’re not doing a good job.”
Marijuana has been illegal for 73 years, since the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
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