Tomorrow, Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) will introduce bipartisan legislation to end the federal prohibition of marijuana. Under the new legislation-to-be, each state would be able to legalize, regulate and tax it (or not) as they see fit, without interference from the federal government.
News broke earlier today, when the Marijuana Policy Project made a press release announcing the legislation, which was later confirmed by a spokesperson for Rep. Frank.
Here’s some more info from the press release:
Other co-sponsors include Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal. The legislation is the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.
Rep. Frank’s legislation would end state/federal conflicts over marijuana policy, reprioritize federal resources, and provide more room for states to do what is best for their own citizens.
It’s not Frank and Paul’s first bipartisan legislation. In 2009, they co-authored similar bill to decriminalize marijuana. But rather than fully legalizing and passing authority over to the states, it only “eliminate(d) most Federal penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use, and for other purposes.” More recently, in 2010, they co-authored an op-ed on the need to reduce military spending.
While it’s pretty likely to get some debate on the floor, it still has to to get voted on, before it goes on to President Obama to be signed in to law, where it awaits an uncertain fate. We know he hasn’t been too chummy with the legalization crowd lately, but it will be interesting to see how he deals with the prickly issue this close to election time.