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Marijuana: Barney Frank Introduces Federal Decriminalization Bill

In a press release last Friday, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) announced he has introduced a bill that would decriminalize the possession and not-for-profit transfer of small amounts of marijuana. It was the second marijuana bill of the week for Frank, who a couple of days earlier introduced the Medical Marijuana Protection Act.
Barney Frank
Titled the Personal Use of Marijuana By Responsible Adults Act of 2009 (H.R. 2943), the bill would remove federal criminal penalties for the possession of less than 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) and for the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce. The bill would not change marijuana's status as a Schedule I controlled substance, would not change federal laws banning the growing, sale, and import and export of marijuana, and would not undo state laws prohibiting marijuana.

"I think John Stuart Mill had it right in the 1850s," said Congressman Frank, "when he argued that individuals should have the right to do what they want in private, so long as they don't hurt anyone else. It's a matter of personal liberty. Moreover, our courts are already stressed and our prisons are overcrowded. We don't need to spend our scarce resources prosecuting people who are doing no harm to others."

"Congressman Frank's bill represents a major step toward sanity in federal marijuana policy," said Marijuana Policy Project director of government relations Aaron Houston. "The decades-long federal war on marijuana protects no one and in fact has ruined countless lives. Most Americans do not believe that simple possession of a small amount of marijuana should be a criminal matter, and it's time Congress listened to the voters."

As of the middle of this week, the bill had five cosponsors: Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Ron Paul (R-TX), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee. No word yet on any hearings.

Ten states have already decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Those states are California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon. In an eleventh, Alaska, the possession of up to an ounce in one's home is not just decriminalized, it's legal.

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Pot smokers need to really show this politician that we are on his side, and back his efforts. This is some of the most hopeful news I have read in a long time, because now is when we should be getting some federal changes in the draconian pot laws. Obama would not be in the White House if the unfair drug laws had been applied to him, and he owes as much respect to others. Especially african-americans, who here in Chicago are searched so much more that they get busted more than the whites, who are the primary users.

Only prejudice and pseudo-science stops weed from being legalized; the ancient enemies of liberty in whatever form they take.

Very promising news. Im a 28

Very promising news. Im a 28 yr old business owner who fell under the rediculous marijuana laws in the state of alabama. I was arrested and humiliated in the local paper for 1/2 of a joint in my ashtray. So far its cost me over 1000 in attorneys fees and at least a 2,000 fine. This is completely rediculous.

Marijuana Bill

It's about time someone in politics realize that there is a need for medical marijuana.

Legalizing marijuana in American would keep the Mexican Cartel from sending all those illegal immigrants into the US.

Americans are consuming a product that has to be smuggled into the country.That is what is driving the violence in Mexico.

America can grow its own weed,seal. off our borders,keep Mexicans in Mexico !

We can go to Afghanistan and fight a civil war in their country,killing them seems not be a problem why not shoot the illegal immigrants crossing our own borders !

medicinal use

good morning sir,

hello sir, my name is mike graham, i'm a 46 year old disabled man. i have suffered from a degenerative condition in my spine. i currently have a spinal cord stimulator and a morphine pump installed inside my body. back during my first spinal fusion, i was prescribed very large doses of medication to battle some of the pain i was in. the oral opiates almost killed me, i was bedridden and had lost over seventy pounds. if not for the recommendation of a hospice nurse, i wouldn't be here writing letters on this issue, i would have died. i don't want to take up too much of your time, so i'll leave that as the reader's digest version. there are too many people that are suffering needlessly. is marijuana the answer to everything, obviously no, but it works for me, and many others, so why shouldn't a doctor have the ability to alleviate pain and suffering in some way if they can? it doesn't make sense. i was taking more prescribed medications for the side effects i was having from the opiates i was taking. proposed legislation would be a nightmare to law enforcement and an added unneeded tax burden to the citizens of this country. honest patients don't care what hoops we have to jump through to get what we need to have any QUALITY OF LIFE. i'm sure you are aware that the 30 SENATORS from this great state of illinois showed the courage, compassion, and common sense to pass S.B.1381 in this past session and according to last year's Mason-Dixon poll, the citizens of this state OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT medicinal use of marijuana with 63%. i understand that there are some that don't have the patients "best interests" at heart and honestly, not too many patients can afford the grade of marijuana that they are trying to add greater penalties to, but 'MARINOL" is 100% THC, but synthetic. i've tried it, it doesn't work as well, it takes over an hour to start to work, and then isn't as effective at knocking down the nausea. i don't know if you realize, true patients, "don't get high" no matter what the THC level in marijuana is because we are able to adjust our dosage and can "function". and you are going to say that should be up to a doctor or pharmacist, well as a patient, i would prefer to be able to adjust my dose by how i feel.
sir, RE-SCHEDULING IS A MUST!!!! , i've spoken with a lot of doctors, and their biggest fear is that the DEA and FDA will come down on them for writing ANY prescriptions for cannabis. as long as cannabis is SCHEDULE I, doctors CANNOT write a prescription or make a recommendation. sir, i don't know how many years i have left, but they shouldn't be spent in misery. if i can answer any questions or be of any assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me.

mike graham
manteno, il 60950
[email protected]

Legalize Cannabis in California

If you live in California and support legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana, YOU can do something about it. Tell your state legislators to support Assembly Bill 390. It's easy. Visit

"Ten states have already

"Ten states have already decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Those states are California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon. In an eleventh, Alaska, the possession of up to an ounce in one's home is not just decriminalized, it's legal."

I thought there were like thirteen. what about Massachussets?

Don't forget Massachusetts

Massachusetts decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marihuana last year. (And I spelled it with an "h" on purpose. ;0) )

BiPartisan Support

It is good to see that Frank got two Republicans on board. It will reduce the resistance.

Of course as long as suppliers are still criminal obscene profits will remain and the war will continue. During alcohol prohibition consumption was legal supply was not. How did that work out?

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