Sep 092013
 September 9, 2013

congress marijuana hearing senateMajority of Americans Now Support Legalizing and Regulating Marijuana like Alcohol

Senator John McCain: “I Respect the Will of the People”

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a first-ever Senate hearing on the issue of marijuana legalization and the tension between state and federal marijuana laws. Last November, Colorado and Washington became the first political jurisdictions in the world to approve the legal regulation of marijuana. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have also approved the medical use of marijuana. On August 29, theDepartment of Justice issued a directive to federal prosecutors instructing them not to interfere with state marijuana laws – as long as a number of stipulations are adhered to, such as preventing distribution to minors.

“On the one hand, it’s hard to fathom why the Senate had to wait until twenty states had legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and two more had legalized it more broadly, before taking up this issue for the first time,’ said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.  “But, that said, Senator Leahy’s leadership on this issue is highly welcome, and suggests that the Senate at last is acknowledging the remarkable shift in public opinion and state laws involving marijuana.”

More than 750,000 people were arrested for marijuana in the U.S. in 2011, the last year for which data is available. Of those arrests, 87% were for mere possession. Polls show that a majority of Americans support legalizing and regulating marijuana like alcohol, and support is rising across the political spectrum. It is likely that more states will legalize marijuana between now and November 2016.

Support is increasing in Congress for changing federal marijuana policies. Last week,Senator John McCain (R-AZ) made headlines when he said, “Maybe we should legalize [marijuana]. We’re certainly moving that way as far as marijuana is concerned. I respect the will of the people.” Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has said the federal government “ought to respect” states that legalize and regulate marijuana. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has suggested decriminalizing all drug users, including marijuana users. A number of senators voted to prohibit the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from spending any money undermining state medical marijuana laws when they were members of the U.S. House – Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

Meanwhile, in the House, nine bipartisan marijuana law reform bills have been introduced, including two bills that would end federal marijuana prohibition. 163 Representatives voted last year to prohibit the DEA from undermining state medical marijuana laws, including 28 Republicans. Earlier this year 225 House members approved a successful amendment allowing colleges and universities to grow industrial hemp for research purposes, if it’s legal under state law.

In late August, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he informed the governors of Washington and Colorado that the Department of Justice will allow the states to implement their ballot initiatives that legalized the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana for adults. Deputy Attorney General James Cole also issued a memo to U.S. attorneys across the country outlining priorities for federal prosecutors enforcing marijuana laws. In a surprising twist, the memo notes that state regulation may further federal interests by reducing organized crime and making marijuana less available to youth.

“Legalizing marijuana and shrinking the number of people behind bars in the U.S. is an issue the left and right can join together on,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Like the repeal of alcohol prohibition, the repeal of marijuana prohibition will save taxpayer money, put organized crime syndicates out of business, and protect the safety of young people.”

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
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  • Art

    If the GOP is hungry enough, it will come around.

    • Tricky Ricky

      This is a great day, but I doubt much will happen. This is government folks…nothing happens quickly and they probably don’t want to do anything this year so they can use this topic as a political football in 2014.
      Yes it’s true…politics ruins everything!

  • Miguel

    Excellent write-up.

  • Jim

    Awesome article , the legalization will also help our Economy in the long run

  • Ilill

    Suck it Nancy Reagan … You should have been telling the CIA to just say no …

  • jayjay

    what about here in the philippines can you legalize too the marie juana here!

    • Sean

      I wish they would legalize it in the Philippines, also. I would have thought that after the Marcos dictatorship of the 70’s and 80’s the following governments would have come around on it. But they seem to be worse than Marcos about cannabis. Best of luck to you.

    • Scott Eaton

      Stay in your own country

  • Christopher J Schaaff

    Fuck yeah!!! Dabs all day!

    • Jordan

      Dabs !

      • Christopher J Schaaff

        All day dude!

  • TomSaw

    Let’s do this thing!

  • Jean Anne Lewis

    Thanks for sharing a great article, Johnny. Keep up the good fight!

  • Herbs Notdrugs ~ “A little dab’ll do ya”

  • rock and roll brad

    Has not the Libertarian Party been saying this since the 70’s? The Green party since the 90’s? Duh. You mean the politicians have finally got their collective heads out of the sand? I’ll believe it when cannabis is legal for getting high in one of the most backwards states of all. North Carolina.

    • Mitchell Brown

      Damn straight, just lost 29 plants in the hog shit capitol of the asshole of the universe, NC. To hell with this I’m leaving as planned this fall after I harvest the rest.

  • jack man

    can they legalize it by tommorow

  • Art
    • Jetdoc

      Can’t be… The Hearing’s NOT TIL TOMORROW!

      • Art

        Is this not Tuesday?

        • Scott Eaton

          Are you stupid ?

          • Jetdoc

            Are you a DICK? I owned up to my mistake, I don’t need YOU piling on

      • Jetdoc

        Damn I lost a day somewhere… Sorry for the brainfart… Btw… I ended up watching it online

  • charles miller

    make it legal

  • Jamey Faun Willows

    All people should read Jack Herer’s book, ” The Emperor wears no Clothes”, before they act. Knowledge before ignorance. This plant was the sails on all the old ships, the food for all man, the oil we used before the slaughter of the whales, the medicine Abraham Lincoln preferred, all of our founding Fathers were hemp farmers under law. On and on it goes until 1937 when the lie became law. Stop the lie about the most valuable plant on the planet. and start healing the earth.

    • Adele Dale

      You are so right. I have been tryring to educate this damn people on facebook about everything you have just stated. Kukos to you….and thanks!

  • Tricky Ricky

    Grassley is spewing typical drug war rhetoric. He’s 79 years old and is completely out of touch.

    • Patrick

      Of course Grassley is perfect okay with pill popping though.

  • Anonymous

    What would be the age of legalizing?
    Please say non :)

    • Scott Eaton

      Don’t be stupid your whole life

  • wowFAD

    Holy guacamole — how many times did Kevin Sabet lie, bald-faced to CONGRESS in less than ten minutes?

  • dgand

    It looks like the banking thing will be worked out and the armored car thing as well. So some good news I suppose.

    Grassley is old school I guess. The others I liked pretty well and i thought they seemed fairly informed. The sheriff i thought was good. Sorry but I didn’t care for sabet. Lol

    Thank you Mr Leahy. I guess we all know the rules now.

  • numberone

    omg this guys head has something growing on it, its so disgusting

  • raz0rback:

    It was the year 2000 it seems yesterday, it will be 2020 in no time and we will all be smoking and new medicines will be made less people on pills and having a couple county’s in each state grow it and tax it and sell it to our enemies and they are lazy we are rich and out of debt and in control, some people will stay sober some will get high but the point is all the problems it solves

    • hoed0wn

      Legalizing it in 50 states in less than 50 years seems like a nice goal lol

  • California Love

    If you need a legit connect email me at ill send you menu with great prices